Contract doctors to get two-year extension, paid study leave, says PM

  • Nation
  • Friday, 23 Jul 2021

PETALING JAYA: The government has agreed to extend the contract of all contract medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers for two years upon completion of their mandatory service to enable career progression as specialists, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).

The Prime Minister said that the government has also agreed to extend the contracts of those officers accepted for specialist studies for a maximum of a further four years to ensure they can complete their specialisation studies.

This announcement comes in the midst of protests from junior contract doctors who said the current contract system in the civil service has been unfair to them and plugging their career progression.

Muhyiddin further said that the contracts of these officers must be in line with the career of a permanent officer and be offered fully paid study leave as well as sponsorship akin to fully paid study leave and Federal Training Awards.

“As an immediate solution, the Cabinet has agreed that medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers appointed on contract basis be offered a contract of service for two years upon completion of the mandatory service to ensure that there is a continuity in service and preparation for specialist studies.

“The Cabinet has agreed to extend the contracts for a maximum of four years to medical officers and dental officers who have been accepted for specialist studies in their first two-year contract service. This is to ensure they can complete their specialist studies.

“The government understands the demand of the contract healthcare employees and acknowledge their contribution and roles as frontliners in giving the best healthcare to the people, especially in this Covid-19 pandemic.

“To ensure that the matter is given complete attention and handled wholly and effectively, I have ordered the Health Ministry and all the relevant agencies to form a comprehensive and inclusive plan involving immediate actions, short-term, medium-term and long-term plans,” said Muhyiddin in a statement on Friday (July 23).

Prior to this, a group of junior contract doctors stated that they were dissatisfied with the introduction of the contract system which was put in place in December 2016.

Before that, doctors and other HCPs were employed on a permanent basis till retirement.

The contract system was introduced to reduce the size of the civil service and introduce competitiveness in hiring.

While the contract system is a reasonable human resource policy, the doctors stated that the system currently hinders the career progression of contract doctors. These doctors are only provided contracts for a total of five years, which is inadequate to complete their specialist training that may take five to 10 years.

Additionally, contract doctors cannot enrol in the Masters’ programmes in local universities, as it is limited to doctors with permanent posts.

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