July 16, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has decided to take over the controversial private hospital, Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) in Malabe as a solution to resolve the controversy surrounding the South Asian institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) affiliated with the hospital.
Minister of Health, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the function to transform Neville Fernando Hospital into a Government Teaching Hospital will take place tomorrow morning at its premises under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena.
The Dr. Nevil Fernando Teaching Hospital in Malabe opened in 2013 with a capacity of 100 private rooms and general wards with 500 beds has been able to provide services to some 3,000 out patients and 100 resident patients per month. The hi-tech multi-specialty tertiary care facility is equipped with all modern equipment available at present.
However, due to the prevailing ant-SAITM situation, difficulties have arisen in admitting an adequate number of patients to the hospital for the training of medical students.
Considering the limited availability of tertiary health care facilities in the Colombo and the Dr. Nevil Fernando Teaching Hospital's close proximity to the expressway making it easier for outskirt patients to reach, the government has decided to take the ownership of the hospital.
The government has received the approval of the cabinet of ministers to take over the hospital valued at Rs. 3.55 billion.
The Minister said that Dr. Neville Fernando has promised to pay back all the loans taken by him to build the hospital. Therefore, it is a huge donation, he said.
Once taken over, the government will manage the hospital, similar to the present management of the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital, by a Board of Governors appointed by the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, to provide services to the public free of charge.
From the 1st of August, the hospital currently with 44 consultants and 30 doctors working, would become a free of charge teaching hospital for Eastern Colombo, which is not available at present, according to the Minister.
He pointed out that NFTH is the closest hospital for those who meet with accidents on Southern Expressway.
Speaking to state TV, the Minister said a decision has been taken to rectify shortcomings of the SAITM Medical Faculty and to meet the required standards.
He said that only 17 percent of the students can get medical education and the question remains whether to close door on the 83 percent of those who could not enter the medical faculties.