Doctors quitting, giving 24 hours’ notice, says group

PETALING JAYA: The Hartal Doktor Kontrak group says doctors are giving 24-hour notices, seemingly after being burnt out and frustrated at the lack of career opportunities.

A social media campaign, Hartal Doktor Kontrak has called for contract doctors to go on strike on July 26 if the government fails to resolve the issue of their permanent placement.

A representative from Hartal Doktor Kontrak previously told FMT there were not many incentives for contract doctors to remain in public service, adding that there are also lack of opportunities for junior doctors to further develop their careers, either through a master’s degree or by taking up a specialisation.

“Doctors are resigning with 24 hours’ notice. Simply too tired and can’t take it anymore,” stated a post on Hartal Doktor Kontrak’s Twitter account yesterday.

Attached to the post was a photo of a roster which showed that a staff member had resigned. No information on the hospital or medical facility was provided.

Contract doctors will go on a one-day strike on July 26 but many are said to have tendered their resignations.

“Received news that many friends are not just taking emergency leave, they are resigning,” said Twitter user @mustaphakamal93 in a post on Hartal Doktor Kontrak’s Twitter page.\

“It’s clear they are burnt out and disappointed with KKM (health ministry),” said @mustaphakamal93, whose profile says he is a part-time doctor.

Resignation letters put on the Hartal Doktor Kontrak Twitter page.

Attached to the post was a photo of a resignation letter from a Grade UD41 contract officer attached to the emergency and trauma department at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang.

The 24-hour notice, dated July 19, stated the reasons for resignation as being a contract medical officer, not being able to get a permanent post, not qualified to do their Masters and an unclear future.

Another post on Hartal Doktor Kontrak’s Twitter page showed a resignation letter of a Grade UD41 contract officer who said he/she wanted to look for job opportunities in the private sector and further their studies.

The contract system limits medical officers to five years’ service in the public sector, after which they will have to move into the private sector or take up specialist training at their own expense.

There are more than 20,000 doctors serving with the government under the contract system, which was introduced in 2016 to deal with an oversupply of medical graduates.

In a previous interview with FMT, a Hartal Doktor Kontrak representative said that “on paper, we can definitely leave because we are contract doctors.”

“We don’t have any ties to the government or the health ministry,” said the representative who spoke to FMT on condition of anonymity.

“However, we wish for continuity of care for patients, to ensure that the public gets the healthcare they need.”

When contacted, a health ministry spokesman said the issue is under the purview of the human resources division which is monitored by the ministry’s secretary-general (Mohd Shafiq Abdullah).

“We will provide feedback if we get any,” the spokesman said.

FMT

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