KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 – The lack of staff in government health facilities may lead to burnout amid an increase in patients and a hiring freeze, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) warned the government.
“We can see the increase in workload and encounters,” MMA president Dr N. Ganabaskaran told Malaysiakini.
“There is an urgent need to ensure the welfare of the staff is cared for to relieve the burnout seen amongst the senior staff.”
The government stopped the hiring of new civil servants in order to manage emolument costs and overlaps in the government departments.
“Our stand is clear, we need the positions to be made available to provide better service to the public while ensuring that the current staff are not burnt-out and spent from overstretching themselves to meet the shortfalls in staffing,” Dr Ganabaskaran said.
“It is reaching a critical point and tired health care staff would certainly carry the risk of making more errors in care, affecting patient safety.”
Separately, the government is reportedly looking at telehealth services where patients can seek medical advice from doctors via the internet.
“We are cautious about telehealth as the impression is still without actually seeing the patient, any medical advice given would still be guesswork at best,” Dr Ganabaskaran stated.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said recently that the ministry has applied for 10,675 new positions, after the federal government rejected the ministry’s request for 21,741 job positions.
The lack of job vacancies in the Health Ministry led to the creation of contract posts for doctors, pharmacists, and dentists, with medical officers being put on contract during their two-year mandatory service with the government.