KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 – Over 7,000 people have petitioned the government to renew the contracts of pharmacists due for terminations this year amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) and its young pharmacist chapter (MPS-YPC) said an estimated 3,500 contract pharmacists were due to be let go from the public health sector from April to December this year.
“The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) and MPS-Young Pharmacist Chapter (MPS-YPC) have decided to urge the government to reconsider their decision and renew the contract of these pharmacists immediately,” said MPS president Amrahi Buang and MPS-YPC chairman Cedric Chua in their petition on change.org.
“Now, the Covid-19 pandemic has further increased the workload of the healthcare frontliners. Pharmacists’ shifts are further extended to make up for the lack of manpower in the government health care settings.
“Yet, our Ministry of Health (MOH) still decides to let go of contract pharmacists who are currently serving on the frontline,” they lamented.
They further said that some contract pharmacists could be let go as early as this Thursday.
“Pharmacists play a critical role in this pandemic. Performing medication supply, counselling and review anywhere from the wards to the pharmacy, pharmacists serve as key anchors to the full suite of pharmaceutical services offered by the MOH, with the ultimate objective of ensuring efficiency, accuracy and timeliness in the process for the sake of patient safety,” the petition explained.
“Considering there is an urgent need for health care workers to battle Covid-19, contract extension will enable the government to harness the experience and skill sets these pharmacists command from three years of intense training.
“Besides, these pharmacists are eager to serve and will most certainly hit the ground running too, without the need to acclimatise themselves to the inner workings of MOH,” they added.
The petition, which was created three days ago by MPS-YPC, has a target of 7,500; it reached 7,032 signatures at the time of writing.
Yesterday, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the government currently had sufficient pharmacists, but that pharmacists whose contracts have ended could still work with MOH on a volunteer basis.