Health Ministry asked to explain after abrupt termination of four MOs' contract

SIBU: The Health Ministry has been called to disclose the criteria for retaining medical officers (MO) after four such officers had their contracts terminated abruptly with no explanation.

The SUPP Education Bureau said the four were now stuck in limbo as they were unable to sit for the final part of their specialist exams which required working in an approved hospital for not less than four years.

Bureau chairman Ding Kuong Hiing said he was informed that only 25% of medical and dental officers would gbe given permanent posts.

He said since 2016, all doctors were given a three-year contract.

"When they complete their housemanship, they will either be given another contract or need to find their own way.

"We demand that Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad publicly disclose the criteria of giving permanent posts to medical and dental officers," he said.

Two such MOs, Dr Wong Woan Hui and Dr Bong Ing Hui from Sibu General Hospital (SGH), had received letters informing them that their contracts would not be renewed on Nov 13 last year.

Dr Wong was with the obstetrics and gynaecology department for two years, while Dr Boon spent two years at the pediatric department and a year as a house officer.

"No reason was given in the letter of termination.

"There are four doctors whose contracts are terminated. They are now left in limbo. They have passed respectively their Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) part 1 and Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (MRCP) (Pediatric) part 1," said Ding.

He said without working in an approved hospital for a period of not less than four years, they would not be able to sit for their final part in obstetrics and paediatrics respectively.

"The contract termination contradicts the Health Ministry latter on Nov 22 last year that the obstetrics and pediatric departments in SGH were understaffed. Under such circumstances, why does the ministry still decide not to renew their contracts?" he asked.

Ding also said that the doctors were severely underpaid during their time as MOs.

"All medical officers who wish to become specialists have legitimate expectations that the ministry would allow them to work in government hospitals for a period of seven years, like in the UK so that they can have the requisite training," he said.

The Meradong assemblyman said the decision of the government not to renew contracts for medical officers who are doing postgraduate studies was a travesty.

Ding demanded that the ministry either extend the contracts of MOs for a period of seven years or make them permanent staff.

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