Contract doctors absorbed into permanent positions insufficient as many more enter payroll, says Hartal Doktor Kontrak

PUTRAJAYA: More contract doctors need to be absorbed into permanent positions as the number assured by the government is insufficient, especially with more contract doctors to be employed every year, says Hartal Doktor Kontrak group.

Its spokesman Dr Muhammad Yassin said this was why the group is pushing for the setting up of the Health Services Commission, to better manage human resources in the country’s healthcare system.

“The 12,800 figure mentioned by the government is a lot of numbers, but at the moment, we have 20,300 contract doctors. What about the rest?

“On top of this, every year, there are about 5,000 new contract doctors being taken each year. So, it is not enough,” he said after submitting a memorandum to Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa on Tuesday (April 11).

Dr Muhammad was asked about the 12,800 contract doctors which are expected to be absorbed into permanent positions within the next three years.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had told the Dewan Rakyat recently that the government, through Budget 2023, had allocated an amount of RM19.7bil for emoluments, which saw an increase of RM3bil from the previous years.

Of this RM3bil additional allocations, RM1.2bil was allocated for pay rise, RM600mil for contract appointments and RM1.1bil for absorption to permanent positions.

The Prime Minister said that this meant that for 2023, a total of RM1.7bil was allocated for recruiting more contract doctors and to absorb existing ones to permanent positions.

During the meeting, Dr Muhammad said the minister had assured that constant engagements would be held with Hartal Doktor Kontrak as well as with other groups.

“We will act as middlemen between contract doctors and the government, to relay suggestions and views that affect us,” he said.

In the memorandum, Hartal Doktor Kontrak has, among others, requested to be included in the high-level committee set up by the ministry to look into issues concerning contract doctors.

The group also urged the government to expedite the setting up of a Health Services Commission and a Healthcare Reforms Commission.

“We urge the ministry and the government to take proactive measures to protect the welfare of all contract healthcare staff, by ensuring career growth and development.

“We want to see issues affecting contract healthcare workers to be resolved fast. All the pain and sacrifices we made during Covid-19 pandemic should not be forgotten,” the memorandum stated.

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