Eight Health Worker Bullying Cases Under Investigation: MOH

MOH’s MyHelp channel received 195 complaints by health workers from Oct 1, 2022-Oct 16, 2023. Only 4% (8 cases) are under investigation for potential bullying, as the other 187 complaints were classified non-bullying (relocation/ placement issues etc).

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is currently investigating eight cases of bullying among health care workers, following complaints lodged via MOH’s internal MyHelp channel.

According to a written response from MOH to the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) last month, following the doctor association’s town hall session between government doctors and Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa last February, 195 complaints were filed on MyHelp over the past year, from the channel’s launch on October 1, 2022, until October 16, 2023.

“Out of these 195 complaints, eight are currently under investigation for potential bullying and will undergo further scrutiny for validation.

“The remaining 187 complaints are classified as non-bullying, relating to service and personal matters, such as relocation requests, placement issues, inadequate parking, marital and relationship problems, and so on,” MOH said in its response to MMA, as sighted by CodeBlue.

MyHelp was specifically set up for health care workers in the MOH to report “anonymous” complaints about workplace bullying. However, MyHelp’s website requires specific information from complainants, including their name, IC number or passport number, occupation, mobile number, and email address. The complainant’s gender is left optional.

In a poll conducted by MMA in September, involving over 700 government and private doctors, two-thirds of whom were medical officers, it was revealed that 30 to 40 per cent of respondents across all states reported experiencing some form of bullying.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has since pledged to combat the bullying of health care workers within the ministry, urging health care workers to report bullying incidents through MOH’s MyHelp channel for bullying complaints by MOH staff, a complaints channel that she said was “transparent with high confidentiality levels”.

An editorial by the New Straits Times, in response to MMA’s survey, said “there is something seriously wrong” with the management of issues in the MOH.

Prior to MMA’s survey, a separate poll by CodeBlue conducted last January among more than 1,600 government health care workers found 41 per cent bullying and 6 per cent sexual harassment prevalence among house officers.

About 25 per cent and 2 per cent of medical officers complained about experiencing bullying and sexual harassment respectively; the same figures were found for the overall sample.

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