In light of the recent announcements by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin during the 14th parliamentary session, Malaysian Medics International (MMI) would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for pledging to improve the contract system for health care professionals.
The government is now looking for possible ways to provide contract health care professionals with the same opportunities as their permanent counterparts, allowing them to continue their specialisation training.
Thus, a special committee has been appointed to plan comprehensive and operable solutions.
The current plans in motion are:
- Applications for equivalent sponsorship as the existing federal scholarship.
- Applications to create additional permanents posts according to the needs of facilities.
- Strategies to increase employment opportunities in the public and private health care services.
- The provisions of the Medical Act 1971, the Dental Act 1971, and the Registration of Pharmacists Act 1950 as well as a more flexible implementation mechanism for specialty studies.
- The suitability of amending the Pensions Act 1980 or introducing equivalent improvements.
We acknowledge that these proposed plans have yet to be implemented. In the interim, we hereby request for the MOH to consider the following suggestions as we move forward in improving the contract system.
For A Publication That Includes Further Details And Clarification Of The Mentioned Plans
With regards to the plan mentioned, we request for a detailed clarification on the budget allocation of the Federal Scholarship (Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan) for the contract doctors.
Simultaneously, as we requested in our previous statement dated June 30, 2021, we would like to once again call for complete transparency in the selection criteria for the Federal Scholarship, as we strongly believe that fair and equitable distribution is indispensable in the workplace.
Ergo, to provide further assurance for our future and current health care professionals, MMI agrees that a clear outline of the implementation plan will strengthen the faith of our public servants to continue serving our country to their fullest.
For Due Consideration On The Following Suggestions To Be Included In The Comprehensive Plan
Other than the plans announced by the health minister, we plead for the MOH to provide a detailed outline of the government’s plan, whilst working in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and other relevant stakeholders, to improve the health care system.
We suggest that immediate actions be financed under Budget 2022, whereas long-term actions can be incorporated into the 13th Malaysia Plan (RMK13).
Additionally, we urge the government to set up an independent National Health Care Systems Reform Committee which includes representatives from relevant government agencies, independent health care professionals, and representatives from medical associations (including medical students’ associations).
This committee will be responsible for drafting a National Health Care Systems Transformation Blueprint outlining long-term actions which will be tabled to and passed by parliament.
Next, we propose for the government to consider implementing equivalent welfare benefits for contract and permanent health care professionals.
These include applying similar criteria to qualify for a Federal Scholarship, extending eligibility for paid study leave to contract health care professionals, allowing special unrecorded leave for candidates to handle procedures related to other specialization pathways, and standardising requirements for entry into a local master’s degree programme.
Increasing Resources To Increase The Number Of Candidates Taken Per Intake
Despite the surplus of medical officers in Malaysia, there is still an insufficient number of specialists4. This can be attributed to the inadequate funding allocations, insufficient teaching consultants, and training facilities5.
Hence, we urge the MOH to work closely with the MOF to increase the funding allocation for postgraduate medical education and to scrutinize the root of the deficit of such resources.
Finally, we urge the government to study the possibilities of incorporating qualified private health care providers into the local specialists’ training programme. T
This measure will help expand existing specialists’ training opportunities significantly and subsidise the government’s financial and resources burden in training new specialists.
Subsequently, this could increase the number of candidates successfully enrolling in specialisation training programmes offered by accredited local medical universities.
Health care professionals in training are the backbone of our future health care system. We plead that they are given the opportunities to reach their full potential during training and that specialisation options be guaranteed.
The welfare of contract doctors should be protected to ensure that young doctors are of high quality and can best serve the country.
Malaysian Medics International is an international medical student-led organisation that aims to connect, educate, and cultivate.
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