MOH Specialist Doctor Placements Rose 72% In Sarawak

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa says 754 specialist doctors were stationed in Sarawak in 2022, a 72% increase over three years from 438 specialist doctors in 2019.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) increased the placement of specialist doctors in Sarawak by 72 per cent over the past three years from 438 in 2019 to 754 last year.

“The government is always striving to increase the number of medical specialists in Sarawak to expand and improve specialist services, including specialist services in rural facilities, for the Malaysian people,” Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said in a written reply to Dewan Negara last June 21. 

Dr Zaliha was responding to a question by Senator Rita Sarimah Patrick Insol, who asked the minister to state what transformations will be carried out to overcome the persistent problem of a lack of specialist doctors in Sarawak.

MOH’s current relocation of more than 4,200 contract medical officers who received permanent positions by the end of next month, particularly to Sabah and Sarawak, has received some brickbats from doctors who said that posting the majority to East Malaysia may result in shortages of trained doctors and sudden service disruptions in the peninsula. 

Dr Zaliha told the Senate that the MOH has implemented a few incentives to attract more medical specialists in the public sector to serve in Sarawak, Sabah, and Labuan. 

The Specialist Placement Incentive Payment (BIPP) gives medical specialists serving in rural health care facilities between RM1,000 to RM2,500 per month, higher than the RM500 to RM2,000 rate in urban areas.

Specialist doctors serving in approved health care facilities in the interiors are also given either the Incentive Payment Based On Location and Difficulty Level (BIMLTK) at RM500 to RM1,500 or the Interior Incentive Payment (BIP) at 10 per cent of the officer’s monthly salary.

Additionally, the ministry has increased specialty and subspecialty training to generate more specialists in the future. 

Medical officers undergoing gazettement are also placed in hospitals in Sarawak.

The MOH is also encouraging more native medical officers from Sarawak to join the specialist programme, either through the Master of Medicine programme with study leave and the Federal Training Award or the Parallel Pathway programme. 

Furthermore, medical specialists are placed in hospitals in Sarawak to serve a minimum period of one year. 

The MOH is also reappointing specialist doctors on a contract basis, based on critical fields needed in hospitals in Sarawak.

Dr Zaliha said that the MOH also outsources specialist services to the private sector. 

The MOH provides visiting specialists to rural areas too. 

The hospital cluster concept was yet another initiative mentioned by the health minister that addresses the lack of specialists, where hospitals in a particular cluster share facilities for medical officers and specialists providing treatment.

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