KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry hopes to take over the process of recruiting foreign contract doctors, its minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said.
“I am not quite happy at the speed in which we have been recruiting these doctors and I have directed the ministry to discuss with the Public Service Commission (PSC) the possibility of letting us recruit the doctors ourselves,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after opening the ministry’s annual health dialogue here yesterday, Chua said delays in getting confirmation of their contract to work in Malaysia was the main reason why only around 10% of the 1,149 posts created for foreign contract doctors last year had been filled.
This was despite the fact that the number of foreign doctors expressing interest in working in Malaysia had been a lot higher than the number of positions available.
“As at June 30, only 135 foreign doctors had reported for duty. Sixty-three were from Pakistan, 40 from India, 16 from Indonesia, 12 from Bangladesh and four from Myanmar,” he said.
Of the total posts available, the PSC had so far only offered 404 contracts.
Chua said foreign doctors had to wait for as long as two years to get confirmation of their recruitment from Malaysia.
Besides these delays, other reasons for the low number of foreign doctors who had taken up their posts were delays by doctors in obtaining “letters of good standing” from their respective medical councils, failure of doctors to obtain release from their employers and requests by doctors to postpone their dates for reporting for duty.
“I believe the ministry will be the most suitable body to handle the recruitment as it knows how many doctors and what skills are needed,” he said, adding that delays did not just occur at the PSC level but also at other agencies, including his own ministry and the Malaysian Medical Council.
On incentives to keep medical personnel in Government service, Chua said that the ministry was in the process of filling 1,034 posts for promotion. Of these, 365 were new posts approved by the Government.
He added that 148 people had already been promoted this year.
“We are also in the final stages of discussion with the Public Service Department (PSD) to allow public health physicians to get a specialist allowance that is at par with that enjoyed by their clinical counterparts.
“If we succeed, the various grades of public health physicians will enjoy a 43% increase in the specialist allowance they are presently receiving,” he said.
The new rates would range from RM1,300 to RM2,400 a month, compared to RM910 to RM1,680 currently.
He added that another incentive that the ministry is negotiating with the PSD for is the fast tracking of promotions for specialists and sub-specialists. This system would allow specialists to be promoted after certain years of service.
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