HWCITF Poll Gets 40,000 Responses, Khairy Targets 60,000

Khairy Jamaluddin says the task force has also been asked to examine perennial problems of staffing shortages in public health care facilities.

SEPANG, June 7 – A survey by the Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF) has amassed some 40,000 responses from health care workers in the public sector so far, with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin targeting over 60,000 responses.

Khairy encouraged all medical officers to participate in the 23-page online survey, launched on May 27, for HWCITF to better understand the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) workplace issues and to offer effective solutions.

“I urge all our medical officers who have received the email from the task force to fill up the survey. This survey is important. It’s asking deep questions on MOH’s work environment,” Khairy told reporters after speaking at the World Food Safety Day 2022 celebration here today. 

“The more responses we get, the more accurate the information will be for the task force to work on,” Khairy said.

HWCITF said in a separate statement issued later today that its Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Survey, which was extended until June 10, has received responses from 49,000 MOH health service staff to date.

The independent task force has also conducted engagement sessions with groups representing doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and private hospitals, namely the Malaysian Medics International, Hartal Doktor Kontrak, the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia, the Malaysian Nurses Association, the Malaysian Association of Medical Assistants, and the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia.

Besides that, HWCTIF has also held engagements with individuals who formerly held the highest positions in MOH, which it did not name, and three higher education institutions.

“HWCITF will continue engagement sessions with a few agencies and members of health service members in the nearest time,” HWCITF chairwoman Prof Siti Hamisah Tapsir said in a statement.

HWCITF had earlier reassured health care professionals that they could answer its poll without fear of reprisal.

The independent task force, in response to CodeBlue’s report on May 31, said questions captured in the 23-page survey are used globally and do not lend to identification of staff. HWCITF said they instead help to create “customised solutions” for the various demographic groups if needed.

HWCITF’s Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Survey – targeted for health care professionals working in MOH facilities and university hospitals – multiple questions about the attitudes and behaviours of their supervisors, workplace harassment and bullying, work load, and working environment, among other issues related to their workplace.

Responding to recurrent claims of staffing shortages at public health care facilities, Khairy said the HWCITF has been tasked to identify the exact problem areas and reasons why the issue continues to occur repeatedly.

“I’ve asked the chairperson of the task force to look into matters as to why cases (on staff shortage) can occur – and I’m sure the recent complaint (that came to light) is not an isolated case. There may be other departments where this is also happening.

“Why is it that the department heads or hospital directors are not informing the human resources (HR) department about these issues. If they are short of staff, they should notify MOH so that the ministry’s HR department can take action so that these problems can be addressed,” Khairy said.

“So, this is definitely something that doesn’t sit well with me, personally, and we will look into the complaints made.”

Update: This article was updated in paragraphs 5-8 with HWCITF’s statement.

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