MOH Denies Doctor Shortage Crisis At HKL, HTA

The Health Ministry says it has made plans to transfer medical officers from other states to Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Tunku Azizah Hospital to replace outgoing doctors.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) today denied that Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) and Tunku Azizah Hospital (HTA) in the capital city are facing a dire shortage of physicians.

Hartal Doktor Kontrak yesterday tweeted an internal June 30 letter by HKL’s deputy medical director, who called for a meeting today with the management of medical officers because the top management of HKL – the biggest hospital under MOH – found that HKL and HTA will face a “medical officer shortage crisis”, following an exodus of junior medical officers (floaters) leaving HKL from July 18. 

HTA is a women and children’s tertiary referral centre located adjacent to HKL that caters not only to the capital city, but accepts referrals from across the country for paediatric and obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) subspecialties.

“The letter issued by HKL’s management is meant to implement internal restructuring to ensure that health care service delivery, particularly at HTA’s emergency department, continues to run smoothly,” MOH said in a statement today.

“In line with the departure of medical officers from HKL and HTA on July 18, 2022, MOH made plans to bring in medical officers from other states to HKL and HTA on the same date to replace the departing medical officers. 

“Such transfers are normal MOH procedures to implement instructions and to process applications for transfer of officers from time to time. As such, the issue of a crisis of a medical officer shortage at HKL and HTA does not arise.”

Malaysiakini reported earlier today an anonymous source as claiming that the departure of junior doctors from HKL was due to extensions of their contracts, without offers of permanent positions. 

According to a parliamentary reply by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin last March, increasing numbers of contract doctors have quit MOH annually over the years, from 110 resignations in 2017 to 768 last year. A total of 2,032 contract medical officers resigned from their jobs in a five-year period from 2017 to 2021.

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