KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 – Dr Zaliha Mustafa today confirmed that the relocation of some 4,200 contract doctors who received permanent positions will cause a temporary shortage of personnel in certain public health care facilities under the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The health minister said that nearly all of 4,914 contract medical officers, dental officers, and pharmacy officers who were offered permanent positions by the Public Services Commission (SPA) have accepted their permanent appointments.
Of the 4,263 medical officers offered permanent positions, seven declined the offer.
Medical officers from 2016 to 2019 cohorts, who are eligible for permanent placement, have been divided into five distinct batches released in separate phases starting from June 9 and continuing until tomorrow, June 24.
According to Dr Zaliha, all permanent positions in Peninsular Malaysia have been filled, while there are still vacancies in Sabah and Sarawak for the remaining batch of medical officers to choose from on the eHousemen application.
Meanwhile, 330 out of 335 dental officers have selected their placement locations on the eDentist application, while 308 out of 316 pharmacy officers have chosen their permanent placement locations in the ePharmacist application.
Despite accepting the permanent roles, more than 1,000 officers have appealed to stay in their current location, Dr Zaliha said. This is equivalent to about one of five officers who were offered permanent positions.
Some of the main reasons cited for the appeals include personal and family health issues, disagreement to serve in Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan, living apart from their spouses, and an interest to pursue specialisation studies.
“The implementation of this permanent appointment will require contract officers to fill permanent positions, according to their effective appointment warrants,” Dr Zaliha said in a statement today.
“As a result of this process, the MOH expects a temporary shortage of personnel in certain health care facilities. Therefore, the MOH has prepared solutions to address this issue, including gradually placing medical officers who have completed their graduate training in the respective facilities starting from July 2023.”
According to official MOH records, a total of 3,226 medical officers will complete their graduate training or compulsory service in stages from June to December 2023, starting with the deployment of 675 medical officers immediately from July 2023.
This will be followed by the deployment of an additional 1,150 officers in August 2023. Subsequent arrangements will be implemented as soon as officers complete their training or compulsory service, Dr Zaliha said.
Her statement came after Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) on Monday raised concerns of an impending health crisis, following the government’s recent decision to grant permanent placements to about 4,000 contract doctors.
The contract doctors’ group warned that as these medical officers transition and relocate by the end of next month, an alarming void will materialise in the many departments, hospitals, and clinics they have diligently served.