KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — A civil servants’ union and groups representing doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and Ministry of Health (MOH) drivers have strongly objected to a proposed shift system at government clinics.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs), the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS), the Malaysian Nurses Association (MNA), the Malaysian Nurses Union (MNU), and the Kesatuan Pemandu-Pemandu Kementerian Kesihatan Semenanjung Malaysia (KPPKKSM) called for a detailed study and stakeholder engagements before proceeding with the shift system at public health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan).
“We will hold an immediate meeting with YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin, Prime Minister of Malaysia to resolve this issue,” the six groups said in a joint statement today.
They said MOH must increase staff and improve infrastructure before the shift system can be implemented.
The groups also stressed that work system changes must take into account the workload of MOH staff.
“Staff are the key people and main contributors towards the success of an organisation’s plans. For this reason, careful study is needed by MOH so that the decisions made will not increase the workload on top of existing job responsibilities while at the same time ensure MOH staff welfare.”
The health care workers’ groups expressed concern about burnout among staff in MOH clinics if the shift system is implemented without sufficient workers, highlighting studies that show one in three doctors had symptoms of burnout.
They also highlighted an MMA survey that showed 92 per cent of 9,320 MOH staff disagreed with the shift system.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Monday that MOH may conduct a trial run on the shift system at a few Klinik Kesihatan first, stressing that additional positions must be created before the shift system can be implemented.
All MOH clinics in the country are currently open from 8am to 5pm (Mondays to Fridays). The shift system, to address the problem of overcrowding, will extend these clinics’ hours to 9:30pm. The two shifts for staff are from 8am to 5pm and 12:30pm to 9:30pm.