No placements for housemen

KUALA LUMPUR: The first batch of contract house officers (HOs) completed their two-year training at the end of last year but many say they have yet to receive appointment letters to a contract or permanent medical officer (MO) post.

These HOs, who trained from December 2016 to December 2018, are worried that they cannot get government housing loans because of job insecurity, or government sponsorship for post-graduate studies, said Malaysian Medics Interna­tional (MMI) chairman Dr S.S. Vikkineshwaran.

In some hospitals, their presence has resulted in a surge in MOs and while this has reduced their job burden, it has also made them compete for procedures, he said.

“It’s crucial that the ministry addresses this matter soon as more contract HOs are quickly becoming floating MOs,” he said in an interview.

He said some doctors have been informed that the criteria for permanent position selection have not been decided.

MMI, a loose movement made up of about 4,000 Malaysian doctors and medical students worldwide, has termed these doctors “floating contract medical officers” – HOs who have completed their training and working in the capacity of MOs but still under the contract terms of a HO (UD41 grade).

The Star highlighted their plight in December last year.

Due to the huge number of medical students graduating every year, the Health Ministry announced in January 2017 that doctors, pharmacists and dentists in the civil service were no longer guaranteed permanent employment.

The ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min told The Star then that there were 1,219 contract HOs from Dec 1, 2016 to January 2017.

He said doctors who completed their housemanship within the three-year contract (those who could not complete their training after two years have a third year to finish it if it’s within reason) would have another two-year contract of compulsory service as an MO.

A 28-year-old doctor, who declined to be named, said he completed his housemanship in December and wanted to know if a MO contract position is counted as part of the 10 years’ service to the government for being a JPA (Public Service Department) scholar, and towards pursuing a Master’s programme.

He also asked if he would be breaching the contract if he did not get a permanent MO post.

Dr Chen, when contacted recently, said the first cohort of grade UD41 (contract) MOs were given three-year contracts – from Dec 5, 2016 to Dec 4, 2019 – and officers who completed their housemanship training still fell within the contract service period.

“Those with full registration with the Malaysian Medical Council are qualified to practise as an MO and carry out their compulsory service in their current place.

“As such, the officers are responsible for carrying out their duties as MOs and qualified for allowance that permanent MOs get,” he said.

Dr Chen said this was explained to the training and teaching hospitals through a circular dated Feb 7.

“The posting of all officers involved will be made known with the decision on whether they get permanent or contract posts.

“The notice on the decision will be announced through the ministry’s official channel as soon as it is approved,” he said, adding that they would be given sufficient notice for any change or move.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry’s Human Resource Department was in the final stage of preparing the document on the MO appointments and would get approval from the top management before submitting it to the Public Service Commission.

Source : TheStar