Survey by medical groups highlights career concerns

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 23 Apr 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: A survey by Malaysian Medics International (MMI) through doctors’ groups on social media showed that two-thirds of 52 doctors who had completed their housemanship still did not know if they would get contract or permanent medical officer (MO) posts.

The survey, conducted on April 13 and 14, showed that 73.1% of the 52 doctors said they were “floating contract medical officers”.

The term, said MMI chairman S.S. Vikkineshwaran, referred to “house officers who have successfully completed their training and are working in the capacity of a medical officer but still under a housemanship contract”.

On how long they have been floating contract medical officers, 72.2% of 36 respondents said as long as one or two months, while 25% said three or four months and the rest for five or six months.

None of the 39 respondents knew the status of their MO placements, though 46.2% of them indicated that they knew the selection criteria for being retained as permanent MOs.

Almost 80% of 39 respondents wished to continue with their current work.

One respondent said that to most superiors, floating contract MOs were perceived as being on the same skill level as senior housemen, while another said that specialists tended to have higher expectations of permanent MOs as opposed to floating MOs.

One respondent said that a floating MO was not allowed to do calls while another said they could only work in certain zones.

One said that after studying for almost six years, the hope was to get a permanent job.

However, when the contract system was introduced, everything “went down the drain”, citing economic concerns such as loans that needed to be settled.

Another said that due to too many uncertainties regarding placements, it was difficult to plan out his life goals.

Top concerns included job security and the unclear implications of being on contract, while others were worried about their eligibility to apply for Master’s programmes, career advancement, training benefits and privileges.

Among the solutions proposed included giving permanent MO posts to all house officers (HOs) who completed their training within two years.

One said the ministry should issue a statement regarding its stance on the problem, while another called for proper planning.

Another said many HOs were still taking their own time to complete their housemanship, and this was unfair.

“If there’s a time limit to completing their housemanship, I believe there will be plenty of permanent posts available,” said the respondent.

Another suggested that problematic doctors and housemen who got extended three to five years be terminated.

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