KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) today suggested that all heads of departments in public health care facilities be held fully accountable for any workplace bullying that occurs in their department.
MMA said it had made this proposal at a town hall session with Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa last month with doctors in the public health service.
“We had also proposed that housemen do not work beyond their working hours to prevent being overworked. These were among measures proposed to stop bullying in public health care facilities,” MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said in a statement.
“We hope the health minister will take up these suggestions and implement them as immediate steps to address the issue of bullying now that another case has been brought to her ministry’s attention.”
MMA was responding to CodeBlue’s report yesterday on allegations by house officers in Sungai Buloh Hospital’s obstetrics and gynaecology department about severe bullying and sexual harassment perpetrated by medical officers in the department.
A representative for trainee doctors in the Selangor public hospital’s O&G department told CodeBlue that the head of department and specialists serving the department were unaware about the alleged bullying, as housemen were allegedly threatened with housemanship extensions and poorer assessments if they were to file complaints to the hospital administration.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa told CodeBlue that she has ordered an immediate investigation into the claims.
Sungai Buloh Hospital director Dr Jasmeet Singh Sucha Singh said in a statement that a probe by an Investigation Committee formed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) hospital found that some of the housemen’s complaints were valid, while others were baseless, without specifying further. He also claimed that “improvement” measures were taken immediately, but did not specify these.
“We applaud the health minister’s swift action in taking immediate steps to address the matter and we hope a thorough investigation will be carried out,” MMA said.
“We also urge all health care workers who feel they are being bullied, whether junior or senior in rank, to make a report to MMA’s HelpDoc or MOH via MyHelp so that action can be taken. Bullying has no place in health care and it should not be tolerated.
“Do not fear senior colleagues or the hospital’s management, make a report and if there is sexual harassment, report it to the police. You do not have to suffer in silence. The situation can only improve when you take action and make a report.”