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MMA urges Health Ministry action on contract doctors’ concerns

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 01:26 PM

THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has formally requested clarification from the Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa regarding various issues affecting 1,004 Grade UD43 Contract Doctors in a letter dated Nov 9. Despite multiple reminders to the minister’s office, the MMA reports have received no response as of now.

The concerns primarily revolve around the recent circular issued by the Health Ministry (MOH) human resources department on Nov 2, 2023. The circular dictates that UD43 doctors who have been granted permanent positions must submit their resignation notice as a UD43 Medical Officer effective from Dec 18, 2023, the designated reporting date for their new assignments.

“The circular states that this notice of resignation is irrevocable and that any other matters concerning services under contract should not arise after notice is submitted,” said MMA president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz.

The MMA has articulated four key points of concern:

Reimbursement issues
Contract doctors despite actively working, are allegedly being denied transport and cargo allowances under the pretext of being “between contracts”. The MMA questions the prioritisation of bureaucracy over the welfare of doctors.

Recognition of service
Years served as contract doctors are reportedly not considered in determining salary grades and promotions. This raises concerns about the potential for disparate pay among doctors with the same total years of service depending on when they secure permanent positions.

Resignation implications
The irrevocable resignation notice poses potential challenges for the continuity of service and career progression. Specifically, the impact on the three-year service requirement for study leave and specialist training is highlighted. Concerns also extend to the fate of JPA scholarship-sponsored Medical Officers and the terms of settling study loans.

“The cohort’s Gantian Cuti Rehat (GCR) should also be carried forward and continue from Dec 18 - the date they report for duty as a permanent Medical Officer,” added Dr Azizan.

Rewards and administrative processes
The MMA calls for expedited settlement of contract rewards by hospitals and emphasised the necessity of timely offer letters for contract doctors, specifying basic salary and allowances at least three months before the resignation date. The association also urges flexibility in allowing sufficient leave for doctors facing relocation challenges, particularly those with family commitments.

Furthermore, Dr Azizan stressed the importance of addressing these issues promptly to ensure a smooth transition for contract doctors into their permanent roles.

“We hope the ministry will also speed up the settlement of the balance contract rewards which have yet to be expedited by the hospitals they currently serve in to ensure a smooth handover and transition to their new location.” - Nov 30, 2023

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