SAITM, NFTH to be allocated to Moratuwa Uni by August: President’s Secretary

Wednesday, 22nd of May 2024

The President’s office has directed Education Ministry Secretary J M T Jayasundara to allocate the South Asian Institute of Technology (SAITM) and the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) to the Faculty of Medicine, University of Moratuwa. President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake in a letter to the Secretary has directed that measures should be taken to facilitate the relocation of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Moratuwa to the SAITM premises by early August to ensure proper operation and functioning of the faculty.

Mr Ekanayake has drawn attention to a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on May 17 and the Cabinet Memorandum submitted by the Education Minister titled ‘Cabinet appointed negotiating committee final report on the vesting of the property ownership of SAITM and Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital to the Government’ and the subsequent Cabinet decision on March 11, along with the observations provided by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National policies. The meeting was held in response to several communications received from the authorities, students and parents of Moratuwa University requesting to expedite the process of allowing medical students to utilise the NFT Hospital.

The progress made on the public private partnership (PPP) with the NFT Hospital was also discussed since the Moratuwa University needs access to the hospital premises at least by August in order to make pre-arrangements before commencing the academic studies in January 2025. Among the decisions taken at the meeting were; The Finance Ministry has already discussed the payment plan and SAITM has agreed to a payment schedule which starts from July 2024 and extends to September 2025, and therefore once the agreement between the Treasury and SAITM is signed the hospital premises will be available for the Moratuwa University to make the pre-arrangements.

As stipulated in the Cabinet decision, permission should be granted thereafter to the Moratuwa University to utlise the professorial units of the NFT Hospital for clinical training until a suitable hospital is allocated for the Moratuwa University. No arrangement has been made so far to initiate a private public private partnership. According to the chairperson of the National Agency for Public Private Partnership, as assessment of the operation and management of the hospital should be modeled as the first step.

Cabinet approval has already been granted to allow the Moratuwa University to utilise the professorial units of the NFT Hospital until a professorial unit is constructed for the Moratuwa University . At present the NFTH is managed at the minimum operation level and therefore, it was decided that a committee should be formed with representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Health, University Grants Commission, and the Sri Lanka Medical Council, to recommend an appropriate operational model for the NFT Hospital which is similar to the one used at the Sri Jayewardenepura hospital. The arrangement should remain in place until a PPP model is adopted and established by the NAPPP, as outlined by the Cabinet decision. (DWI)