Contractual doctors at government hospitals to proceed with walkout on Monday

KUALA LUMPUR: In a rare occurrence in the nation's public sector, between 4,000 and 5,000 government contract doctors will stage a walkout on Monday (July 26) as planned.

This is after they rejected solutions to their contractual predicament as not being in their best interest.

"Hartal Doktor Kontrak" representative Dr Umar Baraka said the medical officers from the public sector will stage a walkout from their workplace, at major hospitals nationwide, from 11am onwards and they will not return to work the rest of the day.

He, however, assured that the walkout will be done after the contract doctors had handed over their tasks to their permanent colleagues, without jeopardising patients' care.

Dr Umar however said those who were stationed at the intensive care unit or units that were understaffed are encouraged to return to their work after staging the walkout.

"We want to show that there are many of us (contract doctors). If we are not there to work, it would pose a problem to the healthcare system," he told a press conference held online, here, today.

He said the doctors that will participate in the walkout include those from the Sungai Buloh Hospital, Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Selayang Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Putrajaya Hospital.

Meanwhile, another representative Dr Mohamed Yunus Hassan said the solutions offered by the government as stated by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was not a long-term solution, but merely to appease the contract doctors.

"An additional two-year contract is not the solution. Permanent posts must be given to the contract doctors, and the criteria must be well explained so that these contract doctors will have a clear direction in their careers.

"There were politicians who said that contract doctors can go private. We do realise the opportunities in the private sector and there is no question about it.

"(But) our heart lies in serving the people, especially those who cannot afford quality healthcare at private hospitals.

"By offering contract terms, it is going to be hard for these doctors to be able to provide quality healthcare to the country."

On Friday, the Prime Minister in a statement said the contract-appointed medical officers, dental officers, and pharmacists will be offered an additional two-year contract after completing their mandatory working period.

This, Muhyiddin said, was part of the Cabinet's immediate solution to ensure continuity of service and preparations for specialist studies for contract healthcare workers.

He said the cabinet had also agreed to extend the appointments on a contract basis for a maximum of four years for dental and medical officers offered to pursue specialist studies during the first two years of the contract, to ensure the officers will complete studies of their respective specialties.

Earlier today, "Hartal Doktor Kontrak" in a statement said while the government had acknowledged the problem and came up with solutions, they however do not address the real issues concerning the contract officers.

"The solutions offered are rather short-sighted. A contract medical officer is forever seen as a second-class doctor compared to their permanent counterparts.

"The issue of lack of job security will not be solved with just a two-year contract extension.

"Permanent posts for all contract medical and other healthcare officers must be given instead."

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