MOH: Instant Placements To Avoid ‘Floating’ Medical Officers

By Boo Su-Lyn | 04 October 2019

Medical officers’ permanent appointment offers will be backdated to the date they started housemanship.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Medical officers will be placed in whichever government facility with a need and vacancy for their desired practice immediately after completing their housemanship, with permanent appointments made later during their service, the Ministry of Health (MOH) explained today.

As junior doctors serve a compulsory two years as medical officers in government clinics or hospitals, their permanent appointment offers will be processed later sometime during their service and backdated to the date they began their housemanship.

So these medical officers will be immediately confirmed as UD44 grade, up from UD41 as contract housemen, and enjoy the benefits of that permanent position without having to wait for another three years.

The instant placements of medical officers depends on which public facility needs services from the field of practice these junior doctors apply for, and if there are vacancies, said MOH, as it explained its circular on the new policy that will take effect October 21.

“We want to avoid them ‘floating’. At least, they can work,” MOH told CodeBlue. “We want to avoid a wait of six months, seven to eight months, or a year.”

CodeBlue reported earlier today a circular by Health Ministry deputy secretary-general (management) Mohd Shafiq Abdullah who said that, as of October 21, contract housemen who have finished their training and obtained full registration as medical officers would be given new placements without waiting for an offer of permanent employment or a renewed contract position.

“Placement of the new officers will be done according to the Placement and Transfer Committee based on the importance of service,” he wrote.

Dr S.S. Vikkineshwaran — chairman of Malaysian Medics International (MMI), a group of Malaysian doctors and medical students worldwide — told CodeBlue that contract junior doctors would not be able to do their Master’s to get into specialisation, due to a government requirement that medical officers hold a permanent position for three years.

He also questioned the definition of “importance of service” in the September 30 MOH circular, complaining about the lack of transparency and asking if it meant medical officers would be placed in a field of practice they were not interested in.

MOH explained that “importance of service” means whether a particular government medical facility has a need for the medical officer’s preferred field and if there are vacancies.

“If they ask for, say, orthopaedics or cardiology, their requests will be put into consideration. Then we look at the importance of service.

“For example, if their training hospital does not have orthopaedics, but orthopaedics is available in other hospitals, we’ll move them there,” MOH said.

Medical officers will be shifted to whichever government facilities, including rural clinics and district hospitals, depending on these two factors.

Doctors, pharmacists, and dentists were no longer guaranteed permanent employment in the public sector since 2017 due to a glut of medical students, even as government hospitals struggle with a lack of specialists.

According to Dr Vikkineshwaran, five batches have completed their housemanship since doctors were taken in as contract medical officers since 2017. Only 800 out of 5,000 housemen have received permanent placements as medical officers.

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