PETALING JAYA: The management of all training hospitals have been directed to investigate complaints from house officers (HOs) on alleged abuse from medical officers (MOs) in their work.
Health Director-General Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the HOs can lodge a complaint with the housemanship training committees at all the 43 teaching hospitals or the state health departments.
“They must investigate to prove or substantiate the complaint,” he told The Star yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham was responding to a letter “Trauma faced by some housemen in hospitals” published by the newspaper on Monday.
The writer had urged the ministry to investigate cases of HOs being threatened and made to work up to 90 hours a week.
Dr Noor Hisham also wrote on his Facebook page that a flexible working system implemented in 2011 required HOs to work an average of 65 to 75 hours a week, and that they are entitled to a day off per week.
He reminded HOs that a doctor’s responsibility was to provide safe and quality care and they must work to improve their competency.
For the two-year housemanship programme, a HO is required to be trained in six disciplines and be given alternative postings in four other fields for up to four months each.
Senior consultant psychiatrist Dr Mohd Nawan Hamzah asked the writer of the letter to define “bullying” because if a mistake was done, the MO would surely be angry.
Dr Azzad Hamzah said Dr Noor Hisham’s statement did not answer the main issue of verbal abuses, bullying, threats, public humiliation and power abuses by superiors.
Selayang Hospital medical officer Dr Iona Khong said she had her share of being scolded and humiliated in the wards. But the experience has made her a better doctor.
Dr Teh Wee Min of Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital disputed the thinking that verbal reprimands were tantamount to abuse.
“We are dealing with human lives here. Every single mistake you do is amplified multiple times,” he said.