MMA welcomes contract doctor extension offer, urge for long-term solutions to problems faced by health workers

MMA president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has thanked the government for offering contract doctors a two-year contract extension but urged for a long-term solution to their plight.

MMA president Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said that while the offer for contract doctors to get a two-year contract extension is welcomed as a short-term measure, it is not a solution to the problem.

He thanked the government and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for discussing the matter further with the association, adding that the current Covid-19 pandemic shows how critical healthcare workers are.

“Therefore, more positions should be created for permanent posts,” he said in a statement on Friday (July 23).

Dr Subramaniam added that the current contract extension proposal may also need to be reviewed as other factors that may delay specialisation should be taken into account.

On Friday, Muhyiddin announced that the government has agreed to offer a two-year contract extension to all contract medical officers, dental officers and pharmaceutical officers.

He also said the government has agreed to extend the contracts of those officers accepted for specialist studies for a maximum of a further four years.

Dr Subramaniam said Muhyiddin had called for a virtual meeting with the MMA to discuss the contract doctor issue on the morning of the announcement, and later announced measures that would enable a contract doctor to specialise and be eligible for similar perks as their permanent counterpart.

“The Prime Minister explained that due to the pandemic, there are currently several limitations in providing a permanent solution to the issue at this time,” he said.

“He however expressed his strong commitment in addressing these issues and vowed that he will personally monitor its progress going forward,” added Dr Subramaniam.

Dr Subramaniam said that Muhyiddin also stated that MMA should be involved in healthcare-related policies for the government to get a better picture of the situation on the ground.

“We look forward to working closely with the Prime Minister and Health Ministry on the holistic development of a medium- and long-term plan for healthcare workers’ employment in the government healthcare system,” he said.

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