MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, March 31, 2023

Set timeline, milestones to resolve contract doctors issue - MMA


The government has been urged to set a timeline with milestones with regard to resolving the issues of contract doctors within three years.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said it would take a lot in order to convince contract doctors to believe that a breakthrough is possible for them to obtain permanent posts.

“The MMA wishes to thank the prime minister for his stated commitment to resolving the issues of contract doctors in three years.

“However, the government should set a timeline with milestones to achieving it for the affected doctors.

“More resignations can also be expected in the meantime as some contract doctors may not be willing to wait another three years,” said MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai in a statement today.

MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai

This call comes after Anwar was reported as saying yesterday that his government will need three years to resolve the problems faced by contract doctors.

The prime minister had also assured that 1,500 contract doctors would be made permanent this year.

“If we were to give all 4,000 (permanent placements) as demanded, we will need more than RM10 billion a year. So this is impossible,” Anwar had said.

Muruga also pointed out that the 1,500 permanent positions mentioned by Anwar are not any different from what was promised by the previous health minister every year.

“It needs to be at least doubled as around 3,000 medical graduates join the system each year,” he said.

Low-hanging fruits

However, Muruga said the government should also focus on resolving many other issues frustrating the public healthcare workforce besides the lack of permanent posts.

Some of these issues do not require financial commitments to resolve, such as ensuring more reasonable working hours for a better work-life balance, transparency in the selection criteria for permanent posts, and ensuring a proper career pathway, he said.

“We understand that securing permanent positions will require a significant, long-term financial commitment from the government but for now, the government can go ahead with the more easily attainable measures,” Muruga.

He said the MMA had brought up various issues along with proposed solutions in their town hall session with Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa

MMA hopes the prime minister had been briefed on what was discussed, he said.

Among the issues that can be resolved immediately without financial commitments from the government is workplace bullying, he said.

MMA had proposed that the department heads at public healthcare facilities be made responsible for any issue of bullying in their departments as one of the measures to stop workplace bullying, Muruga said.

The MMA president also revealed that they had sought to meet Anwar to brief him firsthand on the issues but was instead referred to the health minister.

“We appreciate having met with the health minister on a number of occasions.

“However, it is important that the prime minister as the leader of the nation be made aware of the magnitude of the issues in our public healthcare system and its far-reaching impact on the delivery of health care for the population.

“These problems we are faced with are systemic and are the result of failed policies of the past,” he said. - Mkini

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