KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has offered another one-off six-month contract extension to 2,070 government doctors, dentists, and pharmacists, amid a surge of Covid-19 cases nationwide.
The additional six-month contract extension announced today was given on top of a previous six-month contract issued last April — at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak — to 79 medical officers who completed their compulsory service after doing their housemanship overseas, as well as 852 dental officers and 1,139 pharmacy officers who have completed their two-year compulsory service with the government.
“MOH received information on September 18 that the Ministry of Finance has agreed to approve the contract extension on a one-off basis for another six months for the relevant officer,” Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said in a press statement today.
“That approval is an addition to the previous six-month contract given earlier,” he added.
The health minister said the RM81 million allocation for the latest contract extension was funded through the Covid-19 Tabung. The Covid-19 Fund launched by the government last March 11 — which has received donations from the public and companies — was meant as financial assistance for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak, such as Covid-19 patients and people who lost their jobs.
“The contract extension is a manifestation of the government’s thoughtfulness in enabling officers to continue delivering services in health facilities under MOH.”
It is to be noted that as of July this year, only 3.3 per cent, or 665 doctors, of 19,909 contract medical officers were given permanent positions.
Junior doctors on the other side echoed their dissatisfaction with the contract system, which came into force under the Barisan Nasional administration in December 2016 as it would leave many jobless after completing their two-year compulsory service. This scenario would cause an insufficient time to complete their specialisation training that takes at least four years post-housemanship.
They have also complained about the different civil service grades between the UD41 contract and UD44 permanent medical officers that result in a differential annual salary of nearly RM8,000, besides the lack of unrecorded and child care leave for contract doctors, and hazard leave for contract medical officers from departments like radiology and psychiatry.