We, as a nation, are just recovering from a global pandemic, special thanks to all Malaysians who abided the movement control restriction order which was implemented last March. The whole media and Malaysians stood by the frontliners of our country who sacrificed their comfort and safety for the sake of our beloved nation.
Special privileges were given and are still being given to them in the form of “discounts” (for example: hotels, entrance fee for tourist attraction centres, restaurants and so on). As a Ministry of Health staff, my heartfelt gratitude to all of them for coming up with these ideas.
But I personally feel that these handouts are short-term, which means it won’t be lasting long for those frontliners. If we have a closer look, it’s merely more of a business tactic to attract customers. So it’s better to come out with ideas that would be deemed as “long-term” investment into our health care system.
Perhaps many Malaysians do not realise the current situation of our young medical officers, dental officers, and pharmacists. Currently, these freshly graduated medical personals are being employed on the basis of contract.
Previously, all of them would be absorbed under the ministry as permanent employees after the completion of housemanship in their respective field, but currently they are given contracts and your contract renewal is not guaranteed even if you had completed your housemanship without extensions or any discipline records.
So if their contracts are not renewed, what would be the fate of these medical graduates? Easy option would be “enter private lah“, but this will cause an increase of demand in the number of unemployed doctors to enter private medical facilities and this would inevitably push the salary grade down for doctors in private facilities. Hence, those benefiting the most would be “the corporates”.
A medical student would have spent his/ her entire life by studying vigorously during their medical school, thousands of ringgit would had been splashed into the “medical school”, and most of them would have taken educational loans during the process, with the belief and trust that their life would be better once they start working.
It wasn’t exactly like a fairy tale ending before the implementation of “contract doctors”, but at least they could still live a simple and mediocre life while working. The profession itself was respected and hence, the demand and salary given to a normal GP in the private sector were undisputedly respected as well.
But sadly, in the near future, the current state of freshly graduated medical professionals would be necessitous. They will be working with the same starting salary with no yearly increment, the same grade, and no opportunity would be given to them to study for masters.
They are supposed to find their own way (own money) to finance their education if they are interested. The unemployment rate of medical doctors will be soaring high, with increased demand and competition to enter the private sector, though knowing that they would be only paid “peanuts.”
Reduction of the number of doctors in government facilities will increase the patient-to-doctor ratio, and this directly affects the patient’s waiting time as well. The higher officials in the ministry will not be feeling this effects because “fast lane” treatment is guaranteed for them, but those who would be affected are the commoners like us.
If we really intend to show our gratitude to our frontliners, let’s start by abolishing the “contract basis employment” for them, not by giving them special discounted rates.
This would save our country’s health care for another 100 years. If changes are not made, please be prepared to face a shortage of medical staff in the wake of another pandemic.
Do you still believe that your smart child is destined to study medicine? Please think and decide wisely. It’s time for Malaysia to stand by our health care frontline.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.