Contract doctors who left the country they loved, to do better elsewhere

SUBANG JAYA, July 7 – Today, a local news portal reported that the Health Ministry had offered junior doctors a one-year, one-off contract to junior doctors.

The Star Online said the contract offer was made via a circular to junior doctors in the Grade UD43 category, in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Adham Baba meanwhile had said that will raise the plight of the contract doctors in the Parliament.

Meanwhile, there has been no response so far on the official Facebook page of the Malaysian Medical Association – Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists (MMA Schomos), which has been advocating for contract doctors to be absorbed into permanent posting so that they can specialise.

However, several videos on their website have been highlighting their plight, with the latest telling the story of two doctors who had served as contract staff with the Health Ministry and who had to leave as they saw no prospects in being contract staff. They are now gainfully employed and specialising in hospitals outside of Malaysia, with one of them in the area of psychiatry, which is quite an irony, considering that Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Adham Baba only recently lamented that the country did not have enough psychiatrists.

A long outstanding issue, the plight of contract doctors, who have been losing out on specialisation opportunity, which requires 11 years of full employment, as well as better pay and other perks enjoyed by permanent doctors, has gained much attention and sympathy from various factions especially in the prevailing COVID-19 scenario.

Recently, the contract doctors started their CODE BLACK campaign starting from 1st-12th July this year. It is expected to culminate with a silent protest on July 12, codenamed Black Monday, where the protesting doctors are expected to turn up to work in black attire to “voice” their frustration and their call for fair and proper treatment.

Seeking urgent action from the government for a fair treatment, they have also asked other Malaysians to stand in solidarity with them.

In seeking a revamp of the contract doctors and allied healthcare services for the sake of the healthcare ecosystem of Malaysia, the young doctors are calling for a

* Clear and available career pathway / postgraduate pathway to specialisation for our contract doctors

* Detailed and transparent criteria for permanent posts

* Equal and fair treatment between contract and permanent staff

*Job security for all healthcare worker