Offer MOs 5-year contract, allow training completion to become specialists: Ding

Ding (third left) and SUPP Dudong chief Wong Ching Yong at a press conference in Sibu today (July 22, 2020).

SIBU, July 22: SUPP Education Bureau is urging the Health Ministry to offer five years contract to medical officers from Sarawak and Sabah to allow them to complete the required training to be specialists.

“It is the responsibility of the Health Ministry and the Finance Ministry to facilitate the training of aspiring young doctors who are interested to specialize in the medical specialties of their choice. We urge the authority to be open and transparent to the criteria of selection for these posts.

“Should the authorities concern be long term financial commitment, contracts of five years should be offered to these medical officers in order to allow them to complete the training required,” said SUPP Education Bureau chairman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing in a press statement after holding a press conference here today.

He said SUPP Education Bureau has been leading the fight in the issues of medical officers not being offered sufficiently long contracts after they have completed their current two-year contracts with the Health Ministry, thereby denying young doctors an opportunity to further their careers in specialization in the field of their choice.

Ding who is also Meradong assemblyman said that recently, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba had replied in parliament that this group of medical officers were encouraged to seek training abroad, get their specialization and return to Malaysia to serve the country.

“He (Dr Adham) also pointed out that there are currently 23,928 permanent medical officers who have yet to pursue their specialist training, implying that this cohort of contract medical officers were not needed in service.

“We are extremely surprised by the written reply from the Health Minister, on an issue that will have a profound effect on medical services in this country.

“Firstly, he should realize that not all doctors are suitable for specialist training, as further postgraduate training is both physically and mentally demanding; it is not easy for a doctor who completed five to six years of undergraduate training and to commit him or herself again to further six to 10 years of specialist or subspecialist training.

“Those who are committed to this career pathway should be encouraged and given all the necessary opportunities to do so. An offer of a permanent post or a longer duration of contract post (such as 5 to 6 years) is the correct approach to increase the number of specialists in this country.

“Secondly, the Health Minister should study the distribution of specialists in this country. Back in 2010, the distribution of specialists in the two East Malaysian states was as the table below:

“This showed the acute shortage of medical specialists in all major disciplines in Sabah and Sarawak that has yet to be addressed,” said Ding.

Ding reiterated that recently, all MOs on six-month extended contracts originally from Peninsular Malaysia posted to Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching did not report for duties.

“We cannot blame them as Sarawak is not their home state and the job offered was only for six months. The above two facts showed that it is vitally important to offer permanent MO posts for Sabahan and Sarawakian in order to ensure that they will remain and stay for service in these two states,” said Ding who is also Protem Chairman of Malaysian Junior Doctors 2020. —DayakDaily