Wednesday, September 23

Dr Yii: MoH looking into case of young doctors’ contracts not renewed by govt

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Dr Kelvin Yii

SIBU: The case of young doctors whose contracts were not renewed by the government is being looked into by Ministry of Health (MoH), said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

Dr Yii said this included finding ways to address the issue.

“I contacted MoH on this case and they (MoH) have explained the context of the situation.

“MoH has given assurance that they are studying the case and will look into future steps for these young doctors and how to properly address this issue.

“I will continue following up on the case with relevant ministries as this involves not just MoH, but also JPA (Public Service Department Malaysia),” he said when contacted by The Borneo Post today.

Dr Yii asked to comment on the plight of the two young doctors who served as medical officers (MOs) on contracts with Sibu Hospital but left in a limbo after their contracts were not renewed.

Dr Wong Woan Hui and Dr Bong Ing Hui were served with letters of termination, with no reason given. The duo were among the four in the same predicament.

On MoH’s explanation, Dr Yii said the doctors are not under the “common contract system” where after a young doctor graduates, he/she is offered a contract for four years, for housemanship, and the compulsory service in the hospital.

“They did their housemanship overseas and returned as medical officers thus offered a two year contract for the compulsory service so they can register and work in Malaysia even in private sector. So this contract and their compulsory service has finished,” he added.

In noting that two of four affected doctors are from Peninsular Malaysia, Dr Yii said this issue has happened before and not a case of discrimination to Sarawakians as some quarters seem to be playing up.

“Even with that context and background, I requested MoH for clarification on several matters especially steps they intend to take to address such cases in order to retain talent and good workforce in hospitals or clinics that are in lack of doctors.

“I urge that the relevant Ministries look into this issue in a more holistic manner. One of the core issue that needs to be addressed is still the selection process, and the criteria considered on how such permanent selection is made.”

With the clarification from MoH, Dr Yii said it will then give clarity and transparency so that young doctors know what to work for to achieve such permanent appointments.

“In my view, the Ministry should continue to give priority for the doctors that are willing to serve in places which are in lack, such as district hospitals or clinics especially those in the rural areas here in Sarawak or Sabah.

“On top of that they should look at alternative pathways for doctors such as this, not just in view of compulsory service, but also possibilities of service for specialist pathways, especially for those that are qualified and competent to get into a specialist programme so we can address the shortage of specialist not just in Sarawak, but nationwide,” he added.

During the press conference here yesterday, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) SUPP Dudong branch chairman Wong Ching Yong had described the turn of events as “really shocking” and “grossly unjust”.

SUPP Education Bureau chairman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing also described the situation as most unfair and unfortunate.

“We want to highlight the issue here to the Ministry of Health and federal government. If there are too many doctors, we should control the intake of medical students. Now that they have all graduated as doctors – we have an obligation to train them to give them proper guidance,” Ding stressed.