KKM Treats Its Doctors Like Slaves – Dr Liam

A medical officer trying to pursue specialisation describes the mass transfers of over 4,000 doctors as “beyond ridiculous”, accusing KKM of kicking doctors here and there “like a football”. “Everything shows a severe lack of leadership in the Ministry.”

How the Ministry of Health (KKM) managed the recent mass transfers of permanent medical officers (MO) was beyond ridiculous:

  1. The lack of communication between KKM and state health departments (JKN) caused many major hospitals to be left out of MO placements, causing health care service disruption.
  2. Trained MOs preparing for Master application or specialisation had their career progression halted after being sent to other facilities.
  3. Master students failed their appeal against transfer.
  4. MOs, especially those travelling to East Malaysia, were not eligible for transfer claims, whose travel costs might run into thousands of ringgit.
  5. KKM is retardedly slow in reviewing appeals, only announcing the appeal list on the last day of work before 5pm.
  6. Placement letters were released on the weekend prior to reporting for duty.
  7. Doctors posted to a hospital under construction.
  8. Doctors posted to Borneo asked to come back to the peninsula.
  9. Reshuffling of PTJ (Pusat Tanggungjawab) after reporting for duty.
  10. Not allowing one-to-one exchange of MOs between facilities.

Why are doctors being treated like footballs, kicked here and there? Why do we have to suffer for mistakes by people sitting comfortably in their air-conditioned offices? 

While there are simple solutions to the issues, KKM decided instead to torment doctors.

The final week prior to reporting for duty is the most crucial time among doctors, as we would feel lost, not having heard anything formally from the KKM regarding placements.  

KKM showed no empathy at all towards doctors whose family members are suffering from severe illnesses or doctors who were involved in accidents during travels between PTJ. 

Some doctors have suffered great financial losses from travelling unnecessarily between the peninsula and East Malaysia, wasting money on cargo expenses and rental deposits.

KKM could have allocated the newly trained MOs who just completed their housemanships to fill the vacancies. 

Allow appeals by Master students to remain in the same facility. It’s ridiculous to require them to report for duty at another place, only to subsequently return to their current facility. 

Allow the mutual exchange of medical officers in the facilities they desire, as the numbers will remain the same. 

Offer extra incentives for serving in Sabah and Sarawak. 

Allow transfer claims. 

Improve our grades and salaries so that doctors will accept relocations willingly. 

We only want to feel appreciated. But instead, we are only getting discrimination and injustice.

While Malaysia boasts one of the best health care systems in the world simply by its affordability, KKM is treating its doctors like slaves.

Many doctors have quit the service, feeling cheated, underappreciated for their work, and disenchanted with the recent transfers. 

The doctors who stayed will have to work extra shifts, leading to burnout and mental health issues, and eventually giving up their professions. And the vicious cycle will continue. 

It’s immature to say there are many doctors waiting for jobs. Who will train the younger doctors if there are no senior doctors?

It’s easy to dictate the lives of so many doctors without knowing their sacrifices and what is happening on the ground. 

All the townhall meetings and media conferences seem to be just PR stunts, leading to misleading statements like the notorious Dr Ali example

Massive transfers of medical officers with similar Grade 43 positions and no salary increments are pushing doctors towards the exit door.

The health care service is nothing without doctors. The KKM should allocate finances correctly.

Everything shows a severe lack of leadership in the Ministry, and this needs immediate sorting.  

What seems to matter to the KKM at the moment is allowing vaping, holding unnecessary press conferences and meetings, Facebook updates, and sponsoring convocation and PR events that make them feel good.

KKM should explain the mishap for sending doctors to facilities still under construction and those with no vacancies.

This letter by Dr Liam (pseudonym) is venting from a frustrated doctor trying to pursue his specialisation and seeing the sufferings of his colleagues. CodeBlue is providing the author anonymity as civil servants are prohibited from writing to the press.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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