Proposed Selection Criteria For Permanent Doctors And Rationale – Dr Leonard Goh

Proposed parameters for permanent posts for government doctors: Work performance, demonstrable intent on pursuing specialisation, participation in academia, commitment to CPD, service in East Malaysia, and participation in professional organisations.

One of the greatest mysteries over the past five years is the inability of the relevant authorities to come up with proper ranking criteria for the selection of contract doctors for absorption into permanent service.

At first glance, political instability might seem to be a plausible reason for this administrative failure, until you realise that there remains an entire infrastructure of civil servants who have been in the right position to neglect this issue all this time.

Another round of interviews will be conducted in a few months to determine the 4,263 contract doctors who are worthy enough to be absorbed into permanent service. Despite this, the ranking and selection criteria for this exercise remain ever so opaque.

We are nevertheless blessed with a health minister who is supportive of junior doctors and keen to revamp the contract doctor system. Dr Zaliha Mustafa was vocal in her support of the Code Black campaign back in July 2021, which called for detailed and transparent criteria for permanent posts, amongst other things.

This open letter is written in the hope of providing her with a starting framework for selecting the crème de la crème to retain in public service, as well as to initiate discussion within the medical fraternity on what an ideal candidate looks like.

Proposed Selection Criteria For Permanent Doctors

Proposed selection criteria for permanent posts for government doctors. Graphic by Dr Leonard Goh.

Proposed List Of Acceptable Professional Organisations

  • Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia
  • Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (MAPTB)
  • Malaysian Association for the Study of Pain
  • Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society
  • Malaysian Medical Association (MMA)
  • Malaysian Mental Health Association
  • Malaysian Orthopaedic Association (MOA)
  • Malaysian Paediatric Association
  • Malaysian Psychiatric Association
  • Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA)
  • Malaysian Society of Intensive Care (MSIC)
  • Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology (MSO)
  • Malaysian Society of Pathologists
  • Medico Legal Society of Malaysia
  • Mercy Malaysia (MERCY)
  • National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM)
  • National Heart Association of Malaysia (NHAM)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society of Malaysia (OGSM)
  • Perinatal Society of Malaysia
  • Red Crescent Society
  • St John’s Ambulance

Rationale For The Proposed Parameters

Work performance during housemanship is definitely a parameter which should feature in the selection criteria, to select for those with the aptitude for medicine.

At the same time, it is not weighted very heavily in the proposed scheme to avoid unfairly penalising those who need more time to shine at work.

Demonstrable intent on pursuing specialisation is in line with the ministry’s push for more specialists, while having points for participation in academia encourages the culture of research in today’s world of evidence-based medicine and practice.

Commitment to CPD reinforces the importance of continued learning in medicine, right from the initial phases of the doctor’s career.

Awarding credit for service in East Malaysia helps the ministry put its money where its mouth is by fulfilling its promise to prioritise doctors who have diligently served in Sarawakian and Sabahan healthcare facilities.

Last but not least, participation in professional organisations highlights the importance of advocacy as a doctor and selects for those doctors passionate not just in treating patients, but also in strengthening and improving the institutions to better serve our people in the decades to come.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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