PETALING JAYA: Some of the thorniest issues involving contract doctors have been resolved, giving them hope that the other problems would be looked into soon.
They can now pursue specialist training under the Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP) sponsorship of which application for masters, area of special interest, PhD as well as specialist courses will be opened from Jan 28.
Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah said the offer this time is different from previous years where now, contract doctors are able to take up the parallel pathway programme which was meant only for permanent medical officers before.
“This is in line with the government’s decision that a comprehensive and inclusive career plan be drawn up for contract doctors.
“For this purpose, an allocation of RM100mil has been approved under Budget 2022 for the benefit of up to 3,000 contract doctors,” he said in a statement.
The Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement thanked Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin following his announcement that contract doctors can now pursue specialisation in their respective fields of interest under HLP.
“We would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and his team for delivering on their promise.
“Khairy has indeed proven his mettle and determination to solve this issue that has plagued contract doctors for the past five years,” it said in a statement yesterday.
The group expressed their confidence that Khairy would also take the necessary action to solve the other remaining issues facing contract doctors including transparent criteria and selection for contract doctors to be absorbed into permanent posts.
Others included the need for equal perks and benefits similar to those for their permanent counterparts, such as time-based promotion, hazard leave and 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 Khairy and his team in delivering their remaining promises for the sake of junior doctors and Malaysia’s healthcare system in general,” it added.
In September, Khairy said in 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.
Khairy noted that the move is also in line with the government’s aim of increasing the number of specialists in public healthcare, which currently numbers 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 has some 13,000 specialists, including those in the private sector, adding that it would need 28,000 by 2030.