Housemen may have to serve 5-year term (NST) – Agree or Not?
PUTRAJAYA: Doctors may have to extend their compulsory public service from the current three years to at least five years. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk T. Murugiah said there was an urgent need for doctors and it was time for the issue to be resolved quickly.
“We will be submitting our suggestions to the ministries and agencies that are relevant in addressing this issue by next month,” he said after meeting Public Service Commission officers here yesterday.
The present three years of public service for doctors was too short, he said.
They should serve the government for five to 10 years. “We are aiming to achieve the doctor per patient ratio of 1: 250 in the future,” he said adding that the current ratio stood at 1: 600.
He said the medical field was also facing shortage of dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists but the need for doctors was more critical.
Murugiah said he would send the proposal to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department, the Health Ministry and the Public Service Department.
“With the extension of public service, doctors would gain more experience.
Murugiah said 50,756 civil servants, including those undergoing paramedical training were recruited last year.
The government received more than seven million applications, with almost 200,000 applicants showing up for interviews.
I got YM message from my friend this morning telling me about the newly proposed five years duration of compulsory public service (housemanship) from the current three years. I am sure that this new statement would cause uproar among the house officer (HO) and medical students. According to the statement above, I summarize the reasons of such proposal being put as:
- Rising need for doctor’s service in government hospital due to lack in number
- To help the new doctors to gain more experience
I don’t have any objection of second reason but not for the first one. Malaysian government should realize better that it was all are the consequences of how the doctors were treated in the government hospitals. Besides being over-worked in the hospitals, minimum time for rest, there are also other issues such as bullying and high-handedness by senior doctors and specialist.
Housemen are suffering in hospitals
Being stranded with that kind of situation will distorted the ability of doctors to treat patients, to think wisely and make a right decision. Look how a houseman in HKL is expected to work, 7 days per week comprising 5 days of 12-hour days and 2 days of a 36-hour continuous stretch all totalling about 110 hours per week. The average working week for all Malaysians is 40 hours per week and the labour laws allow up to 48 hours per week. So a houseman works up to three times more than a normal Malaysian.
Is that fair? Does it live up to human right? Or as a Muslim, did you find it a torment? Of course they are being paid RM100 for 24 hours of work (the other 12 hours is already paid as salary) but does the pitiful amount of RM4 per hour is enough for them who has to forgo their sleep, family and social life.
A houseman has to work for long hours in a very demanding working environment; deal with many sick patients, emergencies and trauma patients, etc. No doubt this environment is to be expected in a hospital but coupled with the crazy hours, being always on their feet, the irregular meal times and the low income; I doubt many people will last long as housemen.
The housemanship for these young doctors is two years and during this period they are not allowed to take medical leave- if they fall sick, the leave taken will be deducted from their annual leave. Any parent with a son or daughter as a houseman can tell the suffering that their child is going through.
In fact, during this two-year housemanship, their life is almost non-existent as all they want to do after work is to go to sleep. In fact, some of them have become withdrawn and suffer from depression and anxiety.
Solution for betterment
Extending the compulsory service is not the best solution of tackling the lack in number of doctors in hospitals when we already know how bad they were being treated in hospitals. I believe that this is the real culprit that causes a lot of doctors to stop working for government and go to private.
I guess as long as the government serve them well, they will think twice to forfeit their services. The main problem with our present government is that its ministries are filled with opportunist politicians, while there is a serious lack of professional specialists. The top persons are there for show, making noise and creating chaos. Many ministries are in a mess. The Health Ministry is no different.