MALAYSIAN Medics International would like to extend our gratitude to the Health Ministry for pledging to improve the contract system for healthcare professionals, as indicated by minister Khairy Jamaluddin at the last meeting of Parliament.
The current plans in motion as we understand them are: a) Applications for sponsorship equivalent to the existing federal scholarship; b) applications to create additional permanent posts according to the needs of facilities; c) strategies to increase employment opportunities; d) looking into the provisions of the Medical Act 1971, the Dental Act 1971, and the Registration of Pharmacists Act 1950 as well as a more flexible implementation mechanism for specialty studies; e) looking into the suitability of amending the Pensions Act 1980 or introducing equivalent improvements.
While these proposed plans await implementation, we ask the ministry to consider the following suggestions:
> Make public the details of the mentioned plans: Specially, we ask that details of the budget allocation for the federal scholarship (hadiah latihan persekutuan) for contract doctors be made public.
We also reiterate our request for complete transparency in the selection criteria for the federal scholarship as we strongly believe that fair and equitable distribution is indispensable in the workplace.
A clear outline of the implementation plan will strengthen the faith of our public servants to continue serving the country to their fullest.
> Consider the following suggestions for the comprehensive plan: Other than the plans announced by the Health Minister, we ask that the ministry provide a detailed outline of the government’s plan while working in collaboration with the Finance Ministry and other stakeholders, to improve the healthcare system.
We suggest that immediate actions be financed under Budget 2022 while long-term actions can be incorporated into the 13th Malaysia Plan.
Additionally, we urge the government to set up an independent national healthcare system reform committee comprising representatives from relevant government agencies, independent healthcare professionals, and representatives from medical associations (including medical students’ associations).
This committee could be responsible for drafting a national healthcare system transformation blueprint outlining long-term actions to be presented and passed in Parliament.
Next, we ask that the government consider implementing equivalent benefits for contract and permanent healthcare professionals.
This includes applying similar criteria to qualify for a federal scholarship, extending eligibility for paid study leave to contract healthcare professionals, allowing special unrecorded leave for candidates to handle procedures related to other specialisation pathways, and standardising requirements for entry into local masters programmes.
> Increase resources to increase the number of candidates taken per intake: Despite the surplus of medical officers in Malaysia, there is still an insufficient number of specialists. This can be attributed to inadequate funding allocations and insufficient teaching consultants and training facilities.
Therefore, we urge the Health Ministry to work closely with the Finance Ministry to increase the funding allocation for postgraduate medical education and to scrutinise the root of the deficit of such resources.
We urge the government to study the possibilities of incorporating qualified private healthcare providers into the local specialists training programme.
This measure could help expand existing specialists’ training opportunities significantly and subsidise the government’s financial and resources burden in training new specialists.
Subsequently, this could increase the number of candidates successfully enrolling in specialty training programmes offered by accredited local medical universities.
Healthcare professionals in training are the backbone of our future healthcare system. We hope they are given the opportunities to reach their full potential during training and that specialised options be guaranteed.
The welfare of contract doctors should be protected to ensure that young doctors are of high quality and can best serve the country.
MALAYSIAN MEDICS INTERNATIONAL
Malaysian Medics International is a medical-student led organisation based locally.