KLANG: Doctors hired on a contract basis in the public sector lose a lot, especially in terms of improving their skills and qualifications, according to the Malaysian Association of Public Health Physicians.
Its chairman, Datuk, Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar, said doctors in the permanent regime were granted study leave, scholarships and student loans.
âContract doctors don’t get study leave and if they want to take courses, they have to do everything themselves, including finding their own way to pay for it,â he said.
He was reacting to the government’s decision to extend the term of contract doctors announced by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz when the 2022 budget was tabled.
Dr Zainal Abidin said the government should consider offering contract doctors permanent positions without pensions.
“I think it would be nice for a lot of them as they would get all the other benefits including the opportunity to improve their skills and qualifications,” he added.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) President Dr Koh Kar Chai said the proposed two to four year extension was insufficient. “We have proposed an extension from seven to 10 years which will allow young doctors to specialize,” he said. .
He said MMA would continue to engage the government on the issue.
Meanwhile, Dr Dhivya Dhyana Suppiah, who has been on contract for four years, said the government’s position did not solve the problem.
“A lot of contract doctors have already left and others are likely to leave and they will enter the private sector without a lot of experience or the opportunity to pursue a specialization,” she said.
âThis will have a negative impact on the quality of private sector physicians, as they could end up becoming medical officers of health in small offices. “
Dr Dhivya Dhyana said it was also unfair for doctors, who choose to remain in the public sector, to be deprived of permanent positions as their salaries would remain low, without any increases, despite their workload being low. same as that of their permanent counterparts who qualify for promotions and salary increases once every two years.