Sri Lanka’s only specialist in Pediatric Radiology has left the country, Dr. Ashoka Gunaratne of the Specialist Doctors’ Association said.

Addressing the media, he said earlier it was estimated that at least 4,000 specialist doctors would be required for the health sector by 2024 and 2025. 

“Currently, we have only 50 percent (2,000). With the government’s decision to set the retirement age of specialist doctors at 60, about 250 doctors from the remaining 50 percent will be lost to the sector, bringing the total number of specialist doctors to 1,750. We trained 30 doctors  attached to the emergency medicine units and assigned them as specialist doctors, but 20 of them have migrated,” he said.

“It was estimated that there would be a total of 289 Anesthesiologists by 2024 and 2025, but only 155 remain this year and 30 of them have also migrated. If the remaining Anesthesiologists retire at age 60, the health sector will lose another 20 Anesthesiologists this year,” Dr. Gunaratne said.

He said that it is unfortunate to say that only 100 specialist doctors and anesthesiologists will remain by the end of this year after migrations.

“There was only one specialist in Pediatric Radiology in the country, and he has already migrated. Specialist doctors do not continue with their postgraduate studies as they get the least facilities,” he said.

Most specialist doctors used to migrate because of the few facilities they have, such as not having quarters, and because there is no way for their children to be admitted to schools.

Therefore, the government must look at these issues if they want to stop the doctors from migrating, Dr. Gunaratne said.