MOH Limits Klinik Kesihatan Doctors’ Allowance To Four Extended Hours Despite Ordering Extra Work

In a circular dated March 8, 2023, issued by the Family Health Development Division, a staff member on duty for a longer period “will still be paid for only four hours”. The operating hours have been extended from 5pm to 9.30pm at 52 klinik kesihatan.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a directive that it will limit the allowance paid to klinik kesihatan doctors for working extended hours, despite its call for doctors to take on extra work to help alleviate overcrowding at government hospitals.

According to a circular dated March 8, 2023, signed by Dr Fairus Zana Mohd Rathi on behalf of the Director of the Family Health Development Division, as sighted by CodeBlue, the incentive payment for medical officers on duty can only be paid for up to four hours.

“If a staff member is on duty for a longer period, they will still be paid for only four hours,” according to the circular, which is a compilation of frequently asked questions about the implementation of extended hours and on-call duties in klinik kesihatan.

The circular stipulates that locum allowance payments are made based on regulations issued by the Public Service Department (JPA) and Ministry of Finance (MOF), which must be read in conjunction with the internal circular of the MOH.

The KKM.600/30/12/12 Jld. 2 (62) circular further adds that any additional or amended regulations regarding payment terms, including the duration of duty for locum allowance payment, must first obtain approval from the central agencies (JPA and MOF).

This indicates that the payment limitation of four hours is not just based on individual claims, but is a clear directive stated in the circular.

The circular specifies that the payment rate is set at RM80 per hour for a maximum of four hours, based on the Health Director-General’s Circular Letter No. 8/2007 and a Revised Operational Schedule Letter dated July 7, 2008.

It also states that for officers who are required to work beyond regular working hours and are not entitled to any allowances, they may be given replacement leave in accordance with the current regulations.

Medical officers working at klinik kesihatan have expressed their deep concerns and frustrations with the order to work extended hours from 5pm to 9.30pm on weekdays. 

“While we understand the need for us to work longer hours to cater to the needs of the public, we are appalled by the fact that we are only allowed to claim for four hours of work, despite working for 4.5 hours. The remaining 30 minutes that cannot be claimed are given as ‘time off’, which is unacceptable,” according to the medical officers who spoke on condition of anonymity to CodeBlue.

“This treatment of medical officers as low-class workers is disrespectful and undermines the hard work and dedication that we put into our jobs. It is disheartening to see that our efforts are not valued, and we are expected to serve the system free of charge.”

The group is demanding fair and respectful treatment for providing vital services to the public. “We hope that our concerns will be heard and addressed promptly, and that we can continue to serve the people of Malaysia with dignity and pride.”

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa briefly commented yesterday that the MOH is currently reviewing the payment system for health care workers operating extended hours at klinik kesihatan. This comes after claims of inadequate compensation for the extended operating hours were shared on social media.

Dr Zaliha said the matter is being “discussed and refined” with JPA.

The extended hours at klinik kesihatan consist of operating from 5pm to 9.30pm on regular working days or weekdays, and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays.

In Perlis, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Sabah, Penang, and Melaka, weekdays are from Monday to Friday, while in Kedah, Johor, and Kelantan, Sundays to Thursdays are considered weekdays.

At present, 52 klinik kesihatan are providing extended hours services.

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