Medicine is a noble profession to work in, and even studying it is definitely not easy. The sacrifices and stress medical students undergo to become doctors is not small, and for them to graduate and complete their studies is an amazing feat. But is our country treating doctors, specifically junior doctors, properly?
The Malaysian Medics International (MMI) released a press statement on the fate of contact medical officers and addresses some really important issues. The contract system was introduced in 2016 as a way to reduce waiting time for the officers to complete their compulsory services and also to make sure there was more placement of officers. MMI’s statement comes in response to a press release made by the Ministry Of Health, which said that they’re trying to find long-term solutions to resolve the problem of insufficient permanent officers.
MMI felt that this press release didn’t contain any new information and didn’t answer any of their questions. MOH is asking for 10,000 seats for doctors, but this was rejected by the Public Services Department (JPA). If this persists, there’s a high risk of 5,000 doctors losing their jobs in two years’ time despite our government hospitals severely lacking doctors.
According to The Star, an estimated 2,000 positions are needed to meet yearly requirements to make sure that there’s no delay in acheiving healthcare goals. FYI, doctors or medical students HAVE to do their housemanship training in government hospitals and there’s no way for private hospitals to absorb them either. Another point to note here is that contract officers are also not earning the same amount as permanent officers DESPITE DOING THE SAME JOB! Currently, contract doctors earn RM364 less than permanent officers.
Another thing here is that contract officers get a total of 15 days sick leave but should not exceed 75 days, and if they do exceed 75 days, these officers will be terminated. Now the question here is that, what will happen if these contract officers get any illnesses that require more than 75 days of treatment, e.g. tuberculosis? These contract officers are also working long hours while unsure if they will even get a promotion like permanent officers.
Basically, the treatment of contract officers currently is extremely sad despite the fact that our country has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Unless our mortality rate decreases, I don’t think we can afford to lose any more doctors. We hope that this matter gets resolved with our contract doctors and upcoming doctors get the fair treatment they deserve!
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