MOH Awaiting Approval To Pay Doctors For Selangor KKs’ Sunday Extended Hours

MOH says pending approval from the Central Agency for locum allowance, medical officers can only claim hours for working Sunday extended hours at three Selangor Klinik Kesihatans (subject to HOD approval). Work on Saturday and public holidays will be paid.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) said it is awaiting approval to pay medical officers working extended hours (EH) on Sundays in three Klinik Kesihatan in Selangor.

MOH explained that pending approval from the central agency, doctors are eligible to claim their locum allowance for EH duty at KK Bandar Botanik, KK Taman Ehsan, and KK Ampang on Saturdays and public holidays, but they can only claim hours, or replacement leave, for work on Sundays from 9am to 1pm, subject to approval from the head of department.

Under the STAR pilot project in KK Bandar Botanik (near Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang Hospital), KK Taman Ehsan (near Selayang Hospital), and KK Ampang (near Ampang Hospital) – from March 25 to December 31, 2023 – medical officers working EH on Sundays were given “special periodic approval” for locum allowance if they were on locum duty.

Pharmacy officers and X-ray technicians were also given a locum allowance at a different rate.

“The outcome of the pilot project has been evaluated and the application to continue payment of the locum allowance is currently under the Central Agency’s consideration,” MOH said in a statement yesterday.

The STAR pilot project aimed to reduce congestion at the Green Zone of the emergency department of government hospitals near the public health clinics providing the EH service on weekdays from 5pm to 9.30pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

MOH’s statement yesterday did not explain why Health director-general Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan decided to operationalise the new operating hours of 9am to 1pm on Sunday and public holidays for KK Bandar Botanik, KK Taman Ehsan, and KK Ampang from this year – despite not yet obtaining approval from the Public Service Department (JPA) or the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for the locum allowance for doctors on Sundays.

CodeBlue reported last Tuesday complaints from medical officers about the Selangor state health department (JKNS) stopping the RM80 hourly payment since last month for four hours’ work (9am to 1pm) on Sundays and public holidays at all three public health clinics in Selangor that provide the EH service on those days.

This followed a JKNS February 8 circular that decided on the claim hours’ policy for medical officers for EH work in KK Bandar Botanik, KK Taman Ehsan, and KK Ampang on Sundays and public holidays as an “interim approach”, pending a response from MOH Putrajaya.

Doctors had also questioned why they were only informed about the substitution of payment with replacement leave late last month or early this month – after they had already done the EH work in January.

A doctor who works at a Klinik Kesihatan in Selangor said some medical officers were forced to pay their coworkers with their own money to replace them for duty if they couldn’t work the assigned EH slots.

Doctors in the public health service have widely condemned the government’s refusal to pay medical officers for work in KK Bandar Botanik, KK Taman Ehsan, and KK Ampang on Sundays and public holidays, with some likening it to “modern slavery”.

They also pointed out that replacement leave, which must be used within six months, would likely be burned as it’s very difficult to get leave due to staff shortages.

MOH’s statement yesterday indicates that medical officers will get paid for EH work in KK Bandar Botanik, KK Taman Ehsan, and KK Ampang on public holidays, but not Sundays, pending approval from the central agency for the locum allowance.

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