Khairy Names Task Force To Probe Houseman’s Death, Work Culture

The Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force, chaired by ex-MOSTI sec-gen Siti Hamisah Tapsir, comprises 8 other members, including ex-CIMB human resource head Hamidah Naziadin.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 – Khairy Jamaluddin today listed the terms of reference and members of an independent task force formed to investigate the death of a house officer, as well as the work culture and human resource issues in the public health sector.

The health minister said the Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF), officially formed today by the Ministry of Health (MOH), is tasked to issue its report to him within two months.

“Besides the death of a house officer from Penang Hospital, we have also received reports and complaints of bullying incidents and mental stress problems faced not just by house officers, but also health service staff when delivering services,” Khairy said in a statement today.

The terms of reference of HWCITF, whose members were appointed by Khairy, are as follows:

  1. Analyse and evaluate the work culture as well as the management of human resources of health service staff in general and of house officers specifically. This covers working hours and work burden, performance evaluation, service delivery, and career opportunities.
  2. Analyse information and results of the investigation into the death of the houseman in Penang Hospital.
  3. Summon and obtain testimony on the work culture and human resource management process for the health service in general and house officers specifically. This includes briefing and stakeholder engagement sessions with the relevant MOH division, MOH staff, statutory bodies, non-governmental organisations, and whichever party or individual based on need.
  4. Suggest the appointments of relevant arbitrators to MOH to support the functions and roles of HWCITF if needed.
  5. Conduct related research and analysis.
  6. Prepare an evaluation report and recommendations for the improvement of the work culture and human resource management of health delivery staff in general and of housemen specifically for tabling to the health minister within two months from the date of formation.

The HWCITF is chaired by former Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation secretary-general Siti Hamisah Tapsir, who also previously served as the Higher Education Ministry secretary-general from 2017 to 2019.

HWCITF’s eight other members comprise:

  1. Hamidah Naziadin (former CIMB Group human resource chief executive)
  2. Dr Zabidi A. M. Hussin (pro-vice chancellor, academic, and paediatrics professor at International Medical University)
  3. Mohamed Ridza Mohamed Abdulla (lawyer and partner at Mohamed Ridza & Co)
  4. Prof Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin (consultant psychiatrist at Universiti Malaya)
  5. Dr Chong Su-Lin (IMU Healthcare chief executive officer)
  6. Manvir Victor (member of the World Health Organization’s advisory body Patient for Patient Safety Malaysia)
  7. Sivaramakrishnan Balasubramaniam (expertise in organisational design and work to resolve problems of structure, succession planning and career development, building potential and increasing productivity, and strategic human resource planning)
  8. A representative from the Public Service Department

“I want to stress that the Ministry of Health is very committed in its effort to fix the general working environment of the health service and to end the toxic work culture at MOH health facilities,” Khairy said.

“I admit that this effort requires a little bit of time to bear fruit, but I wish to stress that a conducive and harmonious work environment begins with respecting, supporting, and helping our work colleagues. Now is not the time for us to fight or to point fingers.”

According to the health minister, MOH has more than 270,000 staff.

The death of a 25-year-old Penang Hospital houseman from a fall outside his residence on April 17 triggered a debate in the medical fraternity on a purported long standing toxic culture of bullying of junior doctors.

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