PETALING JAYA: Contract term jobs will put more stress on housemen to perform and compete for the available permanent jobs but this is indirectly good for patients, said Malaysian Medical Association president Dr John Chew.
“Only the best will get the job, so this is of course, good for the patient,” he said.
However, he said, the problem is that not enough posts have been created for medical officers.
He quoted Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya as saying that Malaysia had 1.35 beds per 1,000 population and had not reached the recommended 2.5.
“We are not spending enough on healthcare,” he said, adding that the contract job offer is a symptom of a budget deficit.
“While it will not affect patient care – once a doctor has a patient in front of him or her, it does not matter how he or she is paid – there is a need to create more posts as already crowded hospitals are being squeezed,” he said.
According to a source, the Public Service Department (PSD) has not created any new posts for doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other posts in its public service scheme in the last two years and contract jobs address the long wait for postings.
However, Dr Chew also said there was likely to be a backlog with many housemen waiting for permanent posts because the ministry had more medical graduates than training hospitals could cope.
The last estimate was 5,000 a year despite a moratorium on new local medical schools and the implementation of no-objection certification requirement, he said.
On the criteria for selection of housemen, he said the Health Ministry should inform housemen of their future roadmap so they would know their career path as some may want to pursue post-graduate studies.
Meanwhile, Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min gave an assurance that contract jobs would not affect patient care.
He said the policy of creating new posts was determined by the PSD, manpower planning, the country’s financial ability and population needs.
“Currently, there are too many medical graduates, both in local universities and from abroad,” he said.
However, if there are new hospitals being built, PSD may consider creating new posts, he said.
“We are doing our best to serve the healthcare needs of the people.
“For long term sustainability, the ministry must continue to be efficient in using available resources and reduce wastage,” he said.