KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 – The government will hire the most skilled to fill permanent junior doctors’ positions, Dzulkefly Ahmad said, amid controversy surrounding contract work in the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“The government will select the best talents who meet the requirements of the service scheme and the specific criteria set after two or three years to be considered for a permanent appointment to meet the needs of the service, subject to the vacancy,” the health minister said in Parliament yesterday.
Dzulkefly said this in his answer to Bagan Serai MP Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, who asked about the number of medical graduates who have been contractually employed by MOH, their fate, as well as the ministry’s efforts to help them after their contract expires.
A recent survey in a doctors’ Facebook group showed that most respondents felt the Sasaran Kerja Tahunan/ Laporan Penilaian Prestasi Tahunan performance evaluation tool for government doctors was opaque, biased, and open to abuse.
Explaining that the government cannot provide full employment for all graduates due to an increase in the number of graduates and limited number of vacancies, Dzulkefly said that junior doctors who did not make the cut into the public sector can look at options in other areas, like private companies.
“UD41 Grade Medical Officers (contract) who have completed housemanship training, received full registration status, and completed compulsory service but were not appointed to permanent positions in the public sector have the opportunity to work in other agencies in the public sector such as university hospitals, the private sector, and companies in need of knowledge and skills in health care such as private medical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and others.”
As of November 11, a total of 17,183 UD41 medical officers have been appointed on contract since 2016 and out of that, 6,139 UD41 medical officers have been contractually appointed for 2019.
Earlier in November, Dzulkefly repeated his previous statements in Parliament that MOH could no longer guarantee permanent employment to medical officers, who may be reappointed on contract to serve the government for a mandatory two years instead. These junior doctors were told that after their compulsory service with MOH, they could seek jobs in public university hospitals or in the private sector.