Overworked And Underpaid In Bentong Hospital’s Emergency Department — Medical Officer

A medical officer at Bentong Hospital, Pahang, complains about overwork and inability to claim payment for extra shifts. “Imagine not getting enough sleep, but having to attend to critical Red Zone cases that require a lot of work and focus”.

I’m a medical officer (MO) at Hospital Bentong. Currently, we have eight to nine MOs for the whole emergency department (ED). We have four zones to cover each shift with that amount of medical officers.

The worst thing is that we need to be on the oncall shift, which starts at 10pm, then finishes at 8am the next day. After that, we have to do a PM shift on the same day from 3pm to 11pm without any payment. 

As most of us know, the PM shift is the busiest time of the day for the emergency department, where patient load is the highest.

Imagine not getting enough sleep overnight, but having to attend to critical Red Zone cases, such as MVA (motor vehicle accident), severe TBI (traumatic brain injury), and intubated patients which require a lot of work and focus. As a human being, you will misdiagnose, leading to litigation among patients, besides risking the patient’s life.  

The worst thing also is that we are not allowed to claim any extra money for the extra shifts that we do. Previously, in other EDs in different hospitals, on desperate days when they do not have enough people, they will let us claim RM130 for weekdays, RM140 for weekends.

Furthermore, they will put us in a less busy zone for one shift, then another shift in a busier zone, so that we are not exhausted doing double shifts. 

On top of that, management only attends to patients’ complaints instead of the wellbeing of their own doctors/ staff. They don’t bother to ask the real truth about their staff. This is a sad truth. Most of the medical officers are already burned out and are planning to quit their jobs. 

Imagine there are such things as call replacement days off, as we don’t easily get one off day per week. Even worse, no postcall; usually oncall — postcall — then have to do the PM shift. 

Postcall is the shift when you do night shift, from 10pm (for example Monday) to 8am (Tuesday) the next day, and then after 8am, you’re supposed to get the day off, known as “Hari Tidur“. Then you come back to work the next day (Wednesday), depending on your shift, whether off day/ AM/ PM shift. 

But here in ED Pahang, no such thing as postcalls as you have to work again at 3pm on the same day. Other departments have never done this. We really hope the government can do something about this.

CodeBlue is providing anonymity to the author as civil servants are prohibited from writing to the press.

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