SEREMBAN: Medical specialists in government hospitals and health institutes can from now on work four days a week and use the additional day off to work or teach in the private sector.
They can also use the day off to do industry-sponsored research endorsed by the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the new ruling which took effect on Jan 1 was among others to prevent these specialists from leaving government service to join the private sector.
“The move which also allows them to do locum work in the private sector is to close the gap in earnings between specialists in the government sector and their peers in private practice.
“It will also help increase the number of specialists doing research work and will encourage transfer of knowledge to trainees in the medical sector.
“Such a move will motivate these medical specialists and allow them to perform better and remain in government service,” he said in a directive.
He said specialists given the approval cannot use the day off for any other purpose.
“Department heads must remind their specialist officers that they were still government servants and subject to rules governing them,” he said.
When tabling Budget 2018 last October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had proposed a flexible working programme for grade UD54 and above medical specialists who have served a minimum of four years.
He said these specialists must also be registered with the National Specialist Register as provided under the Medical Act 1971.
They must have also served the ministry for a minimum of 12 years to be eligible.
Dr Noor Hisham said specialists appointed on a temporary basis or contract were ineligible.
Those whose applications are approved must have professional indemnity coverage to ensure the government is not made liable for any claims.
“The specialists will not be allowed to accumulate the unused days and carry these forward to the following month.
“Department heads will also be authorised to revoke permission given to the specialists at any time and they would not have to provide a reason for doing so,” he said, adding that the decision of the department head could not be challenged.
He said department heads were also authorised to recall the specialists on their off-duty day.
“The ministry secretary-general or director-general will be authorised to rescind the flexi working programme any time and without any reason.
“Their decision too cannot be challenged,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said the approval given by the department heads would be valid for one year.