Bullying: Healthcare groups concerned task force lacks representation of junior doctors

PETALING JAYA: The lack of representation especially among junior doctors and healthcare workers in the Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF) raises concerns among healthcare groups that the evaluation and recommendation reports might not fully reflect the reality.

“While the HWCITF comprises many prominent individuals who are leading members in their respective fields, we note a glaring lack of representation from healthcare workers on the ground especially junior doctors or any medical association.

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“It is our concern that this may lead to a severe disconnect from everyday doctors manning our government hospitals and clinics,” said MMA Schomos, Hartal Doktor Kontrak, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (Imam), Malaysian Medics International Doctors (MMI Doctors) and MMA Junior Doctors Network (JDN) in a joint statement Saturday (May 14).

The groups also noted that a brainstorming session had been held among them to come out with suggestions on the issues of bullying and harassment in the industry and a report has been submitted to the ministry.

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“Our consultative group includes representation from all levels of medical practice from house officers to specialists.

“We have also submitted our suggestions accordingly to the ministry as requested, and will always stand ready to provide our grassroots feedback to the HWCITF, lest they be accused of making out-of-touch decisions from their ivory towers,” the statement said.

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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Friday (May 13) announced the establishment of the HWCITF, which would look into matters beyond the alleged bullying incident at the Penang Hospital recently.

Khairy said the independent task force - led by former science, technology and innovation ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir and seven other professionals and experts - would cover aspects of work culture as well as human resources management, to ensure the delivery of quality and professional services.

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The task force is required to prepare evaluation reports and recommendations for the improvement of work culture and human resources management of the health service, which would be presented to the Health Ministry within two months from the date of establishment.

A 25-year-old houseman at the Penang Hospital died following a fall from his rented unit of an apartment at Jalan Datuk Keramat here mid last month.

His death has been linked to the bullying culture at the hospital.

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