PETALING JAYA: The Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement has thanked Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin after contract doctors are now eligible to apply for specialist training under the Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP) sponsorship.
The group issued a statement on Saturday (Jan 15), saying that following the announcement, contract doctors can now pursue a specialisation in their respective fields of interest under the HLP.
“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our Health Minister, YB Khairy Jamaluddin and his team for delivering their promise.
“YB Khairy Jamaluddin had indeed proven his mettle and determination to solve this issue that had plagued the contract doctors for the past five years.
“We also hope that the terms and conditions to apply for HLP will be ironed out soon,” it said.
The group also expressed confidence that Khairy would also take the necessary actions to solve the other remaining issues facing contract doctors, as conveyed during his meeting with Gerakan Hartal Doktor Kontrak on Sept 21 last year.
It said the other issues included transparent criteria and selection for contract doctors to be absorbed into permanent posts.
Others included the need for equal perks and benefits similar to their permanent counterparts, such as time-based promotion, hazard leave, cancer leave and other benefits currently unavailable to contract doctors.
Then there was also the issue of offering permanent posts with Employees' Provident Fund contributions to all contract doctors by amending the Pension Act.
“We have the utmost confidence in YB Khairy Jamaluddin and his team in delivering the remaining of their promises for the sake of the junior doctors and Malaysia's healthcare system in general,” it added.
In September, Khairy said in the Parliament that the government was looking into allowing contract doctors the right to apply for a full scholarship under the Health Ministry to pursue specialist training.
He said that previously, the right to apply for the HLP, which would allow doctors to pursue specialist training programmes in public universities while working, was only for permanent medical officers.
Contract doctors could only proceed through parallel pathways on their own if they wanted further training.
“This is for their future, and it is among the things that were demanded and anticipated for (by contract doctors),” he said.
Khairy noted that the move was also in line with the government’s aim of increasing the number of specialists in public healthcare, which currently numbered only 5,993 out of the 32,885 permanent doctors under the ministry.
Out of the 23,096 contract doctors, only 19 are specialists.
Khairy said the country now had some 13,000 specialists, including those in the private sector, adding that it would need 28,000 by 2030.