Last evening, the GERAKAN National President, Datuk Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai had a discussion session regarding the plight of contract doctors with the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and the Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists (SCHOMOS).
From the discussion, it is known that the issue of the contract doctors has been ongoing for a long time with no end in sight. This is bad news for our contract doctors, whose contracts are bound to expire this year.
Dr. Dominic noted the serious implications of the Ministry of Health’s unwillingness to provide permanent posts to contract doctors. Aspiring specialist doctors will find their plans to further their studies jeopardized alongside their career progression and future.
“What does this mean for our country? We will suffer a brain drain and lose a generation of specialist doctors, no thanks to the unwillingness of the Ministry of Health in granting permanent postings to our contract doctors,” commented Dr. Dominic.
Recipients of the JPA scholarship were required to serve in national health institutions for ten years after graduation. However, many students chose to pay the penalty to stay and work abroad rather than working in Malaysia as contract doctors with a murky career outlook.
Current policies impeding the growth of aspiring specialist doctors did little to alleviate the shortage of specialist doctors in many areas, especially rural areas. Many from rural areas have to travel long distances to access specialist medical services.
“According to data from the Malaysian Institute of Medical Research, Malaysia has an average of 3.9 specialists per 10,000 people, which is much lower when compared to the 14.3 doctors per 10,000 people in OECD countries in 2018.”
“Many have the wrong idea about having too many doctors in Malaysia. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is clear that Malaysia’s overwhelmed healthcare system requires more medical professionals and medical equipment to save it from the brink of paralysis,” noted Dr. Dominic.
According to the latest World Health Organization requirements, the ratio of doctors to people should be one to 225, whereas Malaysia’s current ratio is one to 454, including contract doctors. Therefore, Dr. Dominic urges the Ministry of Health to prioritize and solve the problem of contract doctors, and at the same time improve the nation’s medical equipment and quality, so that the rakyat can receive the best medical care.
Dr. Dominic also said that he would convey the issue to the prime minister, hoping that the Perikatan Nasional government could prioritize and solve the problem faced by contract doctors.
Datuk Dr. Dominic Lau Hoe Chai
GERAKAN National President