Many pharmacists fail to get permanent posts while those who do are in the dark

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 05 Dec 2018

The Pakatan Harapan government, in its election manifesto, aimed to elevate health expenditure from 4% of GDP to 6%-7% of GDP.

KUALA LUMPUR: Anxiety is running high among the first batch of doctors and pharmacists on contract service who have either just completed, or are completing their housemanship, this month.

While those receiving letters of confirmation of permanent posts are anxious as they have not been informed of their postings, those who did not get permanent job were disappointed and hoped the Health Ministry would be transparent and disclose the selection criteria.

The government started issuing jobs on a contract basis for them since December 2016, as announced in Budget 2017.

The contract for pharmacists ended yesterday but those with permanent posts still do not know where they will be posted, said a contract pharmacist in an interview.

Some 500 pharmacists have received fully registered pharmacist licences in their letters dated Nov 30, with 180 of them receiving permanent posts, she said, adding that the rest who did not get permanent posts will have another year of contract service as fully registered pharmacists.

The pharmacist, who had written an open letter to the Health Minister on Nov 28 and signed off as “A disheartened contract pharmacist”, said that there was a lack of transparency in the selection.

The letter, carried by another social media user, went viral.

The pharmacist said that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently told Malaysians residing overseas to return home and make the country stronger to which she agreed wholeheartedly.

She said that upon graduation from a prestigious pharmacy school three years ago, she was offered a place of internship overseas, but decided to return home to play a part in the nation’s development.

Upon her return, not only did she wait for a year to be granted a training spot in a state hospital before she obtained her full registration, she also did not get a permanent post despite much hard work, she said in the letter.

She also claimed during her training, there was a lack of transparency in evaluation, unavailability of feedback loop and inefficiency within the ministry.

“Trainees were not given permission to review their marks and hence, could not learn from mistakes and improve on their weaknesses,” she said.

“When trainees offered suggestions, they were warned not to voice out, otherwise, it would be considered as ingkar arahan (defying orders),” she further claimed.

In reply to the letter, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the government was not obligated to absorb all pharmacists who have completed their housemanship and compulsory service to serve with the government.

“However, to meet the needs of government health facilities, only a portion will be appointed a permanent post based on availability,” he said in a statement on Monday.

On that note, he said that the ministry will only appoint the best talent for the permanent post.

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