Medical specialists in the government sector are leaving due to the lack of promotion prospects. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said 128 specialist doctors have resigned in the first nine months this year, while 124 have left the service in 2015. (File pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: Medical specialists in the government sector are leaving due to the lack of promotion prospects.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said 128 specialist doctors have resigned in the first nine months this year, while 124 have left the service in 2015.

He said a majority of resignations came from medical specialists on Grade U53 and U54, as they had to wait for up to 10 years for a promotion.

“Hence we are planning to introduce Grade 56 and the Public Service Department is working on it,” he said when replying to a question from Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (BN-Tanah Merah) in the Dewan Rakyat today during the Minister’s Question Time (MQT).

Ikmal had inquired on the seriousness of medical specialists’ shortage in Malaysia. He also asked if Malaysia will be able to achieve the ratio of 1:400 (doctor to patient) by 2020.

Hilmi said as of September this year, there are more than 4,000 specialists in various fields under the Health Ministry.

The Balik Pulau MP added that the ratio in 2015 was one doctor to every 650 patients.

“In general, regardless on the types of illnesses, we need one doctor to every 520 patients,” he said.

Hilmi gave assurance that the government is committed to increasing the number of doctors in the country.

“Based on evaluation and initial findings, the target ratio of 1:400 is possible to be achieved by 2030,” he said.

He added that the government is trying to address the disparity in income between specialists in the government hospitals and their counterparts in the private sector.

He said the government had implemented the Full Paying Patient (FPP) scheme to boost the income of government medical specialists.

Under FPP, a patient can opt for treatment from a medical specialist and while they pay in full for their treatment, the price is still much lower at government hospitals compared to the private ones.