PETALING JAYA: Housemen should have access to the right mechanisms to lodge complaints against power abuse, especially by department heads, say those familiar with the matter.
A medical officer in Shah Alam said there are no proper avenues in place for housemen to ask for a review of their department assessment.
He added that there are loopholes in the system in which department heads can arbitrarily extend a houseman’s posting.
“It all boils down to the specialist in charge if they want to allow the houseman to pass his or her posting.
“If they find that they are unfairly assessed, they have to report directly to the hospital director, to the Malaysian Medical Council or the Health Ministry,” he said, adding that most do not do this for fear of repercussions.
A houseman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the evaluation process varies depending on the department head.
He said there may be elements of bias for the oral component for the assessment, as it is heavily dependent on the assessor.
“There are no channels that I know of if we want to review or dispute the assessment,” he said, adding that an ombudsman or association for house officers should be set up.
Another medical officer in Selangor said house officers should be able to report any instances of power abuse to their mentor, who would then act to rectify the problem.
“However, the hospital I worked at in another state doesn’t even have a mentoring system,” she said.
Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Health Sciences (Forensic Science Programme) criminologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat said that there should be no loopholes in the system or guidelines that a sexual predator or abuser can manipulate.
“A clear standard operating procedure must be in place and must be enforced and everyone should be made aware (of it) via training and empowerment.
“There should be no loopholes that predators could manipulate,” said Dr Geshina.
Retired deputy Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai recently said although there are recommended guidelines to evaluate housemen, these are not uniformly enforced in each hospital.
“We try to standardise the guidelines across all hospitals, though there are challenges in implementation,” he said, adding that it depends upon the number of specialists in the hospitals and their workload.
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