The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) applauds the recent announcement by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia on the contract extension of six months for 2,070 health care staff in the country.
This extension involves 79 medical officers who have completed training overseas, 852 dentists and 1,139 pharmacists. The total budget approved for this extension is RM81 million in total.
While we acknowledge the government’s efforts in looking into the welfare of health care staff as per the government’s manifesto, the MMA would like to once again urge the government to look into the proposal for a 10-year extended contract for all doctors which many associations, including MMA’s Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists (SCHOMOS), have been suggesting.
This should not be looked at as an expense but rather, an investment in the next generation of specialists. In the long run, the extension of contracts to 10 years will translate to savings for the government as we will have ample trained specialists without the need to import specialists.
MMA agrees that health care costs are rising in the country and maintaining long term permanent positions will be inevitable. However, issues such as brain drain, adequate specialist training, and the self-esteem among junior doctors are matters that should also be taken into consideration.
As mentioned previously, any and all decisions made today, the effect it will have on our health care system and ability to respond to further pandemics, will only be seen in 10 to 15 years’ time.
The MMA, once again, strongly urges the government to look into permanent contract extensions as a long-term solution rather than a short-term contract.
Professor Dr Subramaniam Muniandy is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
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