KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Only 62 per cent (7,576) of 12,228 housemen positions have been filled, according to Ministry of Health (MOH) data, as government hospitals across the country continue to struggle to recruit and retain enough health care workers.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, in a written response in Parliament yesterday, said that the 4,652 unfilled positions were a result of housemen completing their training, resigning from their posts, or termination.
Official MOH records show that all past housemen training slots were filled due to the steady annual increase in the number of medical graduates. However, in 2022, the figure fell by 57 per cent to 4,875 medical graduates compared to 8,511 medical graduates in 2019.
“This is due to the deferral of studies by medical students who could not complete their studies in the allocated time,” Dr Zaliha said in response to Wangsa Maju MP Zahir Hassan’s question on the matter.
Dr Zaliha explained that MOH recruits graduates six times a year — once every two months — with a projected intake of 4,000 medical students a year.
All medical graduates who have registered with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and have passed the Public Services Commission of Malaysia (PSC) screening will immediately be appointed to a hospital for training without having to undergo an interview.
“To fill the empty training slots, as many as 1,764 medical graduates who have passed the PSC screening will be offered graduate placement training in the first and second quarter of 2023.
“The MOH projects an increase in the intake of housemen in the next cohort based on the 1,954 medical graduates who were granted their housemen application reference number letter by the MMC.
“The medical graduate intake is further subject to the application through the SPA9 system (PSC’s Employment Registration System) and screening by the PSC,” the health minister said.
Separately, Dr Zaliha said an external company appointed by MOH via the Hospital Support Services (HSS) contract system is in charge of maintaining public hospitals.
The evaluation of services is conducted based on the indicators stipulated in the contract.
“To ensure that the level of maintenance at MOH’s hospitals is at its best, continuous monitoring is always carried out by the ministry on the services provided by the company.
“If there is a weakness in the services provided by the company, a warning letter, follow-up discussion, and proposed solutions to improve the level of service in the hospital or institution involved will be issued or carried out to ensure that the operations in the hospital or institution are not affected,” Dr Zaliha said.