Treat contract healthcare workers right, Pakatan health committee tells Putrajaya

MoH healthcare workers carry out Covid-19 screening at Pelangi Damansara in Petaling Jaya October 22, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
MoH healthcare workers carry out Covid-19 screening at Pelangi Damansara in Petaling Jaya October 22, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) health committee has recommended the government take several steps to address issues facing contract healthcare workers.

It said the Covid-19 pandemic has proven how important it was to increase the allocation for Malaysia’s healthcare system, not just in terms of infrastructure but also manpower.

“Firstly we propose the evaluation and selection process for appointments should be made fairly, transparently, and based on merit,” said the committee in a statement.

It added the appointment criteria should also be explained in detail for the benefit of healthcare workers, to reduce the perception of unfairness that may occur during the permanent appointment selection process.

“Secondly, contract doctors should be given the same opportunity as permanent appointed doctors to receive the Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP) scholarship, and join the Master of Medicine programme or Parallel Pathways. This can be accomplished via a Cabinet decision and change to internal policy.

“Contract doctors who receive the HLP should also be given a long contract appointment, until they finish their specialisation training programme and subsequently fulfilling their obligations under the HLP,” said the committee.

It also recommended that contract healthcare workers should be given fair and equal treatment as permanent appointed healthcare workers, since they have the same responsibilities and work burden, as well as face the same risks of infection at their workplaces. The treatment should include salary, special duty leave, and others.

“For the long term, the government should also review the need for overall human resources in the health sector, including doctors, specialists, nurses, and federated health professionals, and then form a new policy to ensure the corresponding supply.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to see the sacrifices of our healthcare workers, including contract workers. They are heroes of the nation who should not just be supported and honoured by all, but more importantly given more just treatment and stability in their careers,” said the committee.

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