More Communication Needed, Young Doctors Need Support – Dr John Chew

The blame game has to stop and all must work together to avoid any more loss of life.

Our deepest condolences to the family of the houseman from Penang Hospital who fell to his death. This is the most upsetting time for them, and we join all to support them as much as we should.

I echo the calls for an Inquiry as soon as possible so nobody else needs to suffer the same fate. 

Our health care system is under profound stress with the Covid-19 pandemic, underfunding, overcrowding, infrastructure failures, and staff fatigue among the existing difficulties of looking after the sick. 

It is an extremely tough time for health care workers now, and more support is needed. If nothing is done urgently, we can only expect things to get worse, even to a point of total collapse. 

I call for the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) to play a bigger role in speaking out for the doctors. 

The MMA as a fraternity has always worked to better the work environment. We have been promoting continuous medical education (CME), collegiality, and better communication, and engaging with both management and staff members. We just have to do more and better. 

MMA membership is voluntary, and transcends age, race, religion, employment and speciality. Both government and private doctors are members. 

All of us have volunteered our time and money, and it is even more crucial now to recognise what the MMA has endeavoured to do in the past. The blame game has to stop and all must work together to avoid any more loss of life.

We must improve social support for housemen, in terms of accommodation, food, and others. These young doctors often have to find their own resources in an unfamiliar city.

Dr John Chew is a private practitioner in Kuching, Sarawak. He was MMA president in 2016 and a former Malaysian Medical Council member.

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