THERE are almost 140 over government hospitals in Malaysia.
There are many departments in hospitals with different heads of departments to run the show.
What I do not agree to, and totally do not understand, is that these heads of departments (HOD) put their names down as consultants in charge for 30 days on the on-call list and make full on-call claims although they are not on duty after office hours.
Some are even on vacation but at the end of the month they get their claims for 30 days of on-call duty!
None of these HODs visit patients after office hours. They drop by during working hours from Monday to Friday making the rounds in their wards, changing plans, cracking jokes and teasing house officers, medical officers and even consultants, and after that disappear, citing so-called “meetings”.
Is this fair to the system?
When asked, some say they are following the path of their former HODs who did the same in the past.
If HODs do not intend to do their rounds, they should not submit on-call claims; it is unfair to claim when they are not performing their duties.
I do agree that only a handful of HODs visit patients at night to assist the medical team on duty. These are truly the peoples’ doctors.
HODs do receive some sort of monthly allocation from the government to carry out department-level functions but there are hardly any functions arranged except when drug companies promote their products and medicines.
I do not agree with the idea of paying HODs on-call claims unless they are seen doing their on-call duties routinely.
Allocations for departments should be utilised for the benefit of co-workers in the departments. HODs who abuse the system could mar the image of government hospitals through which all future doctors are trained.
A doctor is always a doctor no matter how high the position.
When it comes to service, we should perform our duties, whether we are HODs or the director of the hospital.
After all, that’s what we pledged when we were sworn in as doctors.