– Out of 3500 doctors who sat for PLAB exam in UK, 750 were Sri Lankans

– Nearly 400 specialists have left in the past two years, which was becoming a “huge problem” for the Sri Lankan health sector

With the medical brain drain back on the increase after a period of decline, the Health Ministry is in a tight spot as they run out of options to tackle the matter.

Reports indicate that nearly 5,000 Sri Lankan doctors have successfully passed exams qualifying them to practice abroad, intensifying concerns within the Health Ministry. With approximately 20,000 doctors currently employed in government health institutions across Sri Lanka, the potential departure of a significant number poses a serious challenge.

Furthermore, out of 3,500 candidates who took the PLAB exam, which assesses their readiness to practice in the UK, about 750 were from Sri Lanka. Of the 2,100 candidates who passed the exam, 550 were Sri Lankans.

The PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) exam is a test that overseas doctors must pass in order to practice medicine in the United Kingdom

These developments have raised eyebrows among health authorities as they have hit a dead end to the matter, according to sources.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services expressed deep concern over the exodus of specialists, whose expertise is invaluable.

“Despite a significant number of doctors in the pipeline and plans to appoint more interns, the decision of specialists opting to leave the country is beyond our control,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Media Spokesman Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe told Daily Mirror that notwithstanding they had proposed to the government ways to mitigate the brain drain of doctors like financial incentives and restructuring of salary system, the proposals have fallen on deaf ears.

He estimated that nearly 400 specialists have left in the past two years, which was becoming a “huge problem” for the Sri Lankan health sector.

In response, the Health DG said increasing the salary is really challenging at this juncture since the country is just recovering from the economic crisis.

“However, the Ministry is working diligently to address the matter with taking salary increment also into consideration,” he added.

The Health Ministry continues to grapple with this escalating crisis as they seek viable strategies to stem the outflow of medical professionals and maintain healthcare standards across the nation.