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  • Writer's pictureJacquline Ebit

Contract doctors: Think tank urges Govt to formulate effective measures, make clearer plans

13 Aug 2021

By Jacquline Ebit

KOTA KINABALU: WISDOM Foundation urges the Federal Government to immediately formulate more effective measures and make clearer plans for the issue of contract doctors in Malaysia.

According to its Executive Chairperson Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Hartal Doktor Kontrak Movement is still strongly asserting for their two demands which are for the government to offer permanent appointments to all existing contract appointed officers and for a transparent explanation of the criteria required for permanent appointments.

“Therefore, the two years extension offered by the government is simply unacceptable as it does not meet the demands.

“To us, the issue of contract doctors is a national problem as our country produces an enormous supply of medical graduates with little hope of having job security and it is needed to be resolved by the government on a short-, medium-, and long-term basis.

“Since 2016, only 786 medical officers have been appointed permanently while 23,000 new doctors serve in the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) on a contract basis and their service contract will expire after serving for five years, namely three years as a house officer and two years as a licensed medical doctor,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the large number of medical graduates stems from the sudden mushrooming in the number of universities and colleges offering medical degrees from 10 to 32 between 2000 till 2012 will continue to produce graduates that eventually cause an oversupply of medical graduates’ unemployment in the market.

“With these in mind, one of the methods to resolve this issue is the Federal Government should implement a stricter system of medical school accreditation to prevent further mushrooming of medical graduates.

“Secondly, Malaysia should aim to produce quality doctors by enforcing tests for students who are interested in pursuing the medical line of work as well as current medical officers who are aiming for higher positions.

“Lastly, decentralisation should be implemented by transferring the role of human resource management from the Public Service Department (JPA) to the MOH and state governments who better understand the demand of doctors needed on the ground,” he said.

WISDOM Foundation urges the Federal Government to implement these reforms in the accreditation system as well as in the health administration system so that the issue of injustice in the appointment of our young doctors in the future can be resolved.

"Although Malaysia has a 1:454 doctor-to-population ratio, surpassing the suggested 1:500 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are still states who do not come close to meeting this standard.

“The ratio of 1: 662 for Sarawak and 1: 856 for Sabah shows that the distribution of doctors is uneven throughout the country, highlighting the fact that a lack of doctors still exists in society,” said Madius.

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