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GMOA welcomes North health sector’s social media ban during duty hrs

GMOA welcomes North health sector’s social media ban during duty hrs

19 Sep 2023 | BY Sahan Tennekoon

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), whilst welcoming the decision taken by the Provincial Department of Health Services of the Northern Province to impose a ban on the use of social media by health workers including doctors during duty hours, would remain observant of future actions.

Provincial Director of Health Services (PDHS) – Northern Province Dr. T. Sathiyamoorthy had told the media that the particular decision comes after numerous complaints were received alleging that some health workers use their mobile phones to browse social media platforms instead of attending to patients seeking treatment, and also stated that the ban specifically applies to social media usage during duty hours and does not restrict the use of mobile phones for legitimate work-related purposes.

When contacted by The Daily Morning yesterday (18), GMOA Northern Province Coordinator Dr. S. Mathivanan said that the GMOA has no objections regarding the said decision but that it remains observant as to whether this decision is to be implemented in a manner causing harassment to health workers. He said that the said decision was taken with the perspective of increasing the level of patient care provided by the hospitals in the province and that therefore, at this moment, the GMOA welcomes the move.

He added that the PDHS consulted doctors and relevant trade unions before making this decision and that they had not objected to the decision since it is implemented only during work hours and does not have any negative impact. When queried by The Daily Morning as to whether the provincial health authorities have instructed them not to interact with the media, he said that they believe that there is no such motive behind this decision. “But, we informed the PDHS that we have to use technology, especially mobile phones, when dealing with patients, diagnosing and prescribing medicines. Therefore, we highlighted that there should be relief in such cases. They agreed,” he said.

It was reported that the ban was not intended to infringe upon the personal lives of health workers, but rather to address the issue of negligence towards patients. It was emphasised that there are no restrictions on the use of mobile phones during non-duty hours, allowing health workers to engage with social media platforms and other personal activities at their leisure.




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