KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has expressed concern that extending the operating hours at government clinics could lead to overworked personnel, which would negatively impact the quality of care for patients in the facilities.
Its president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said a work-life balance is important to maintain the standard of care at public healthcare centres, the News Straits Times reported today.
“We have received complaints from several housemen who have to start work two or three hours earlier just to ensure administrative matters are up to date, as well as work overtime.
“Housemen, medical officers and even specialists at public healthcare centres nowadays normally have to work beyond their shifts, but aren’t given adequate remuneration,” he was quoted as saying.
Dr Muruga also pointed out that it is unfair to pay the medical staff just RM600 as allowance instead of following overtime rates.
He said the matter has been viewed as “national service” as it has been happening in the public sector.
He added that if a similar situation occurred in the private sector, it would have been seen as exploitation and bullying.
Dr Muruga also said the MMA is seeking a meeting with the Health Ministry’s human resource department and Public Service Department to resolve this issue.
“We believe several policies need to be put in place to protect public healthcare workers from being treated unfairly compared to their colleagues in the private sector,” he was quoted saying.
Dr Muruga also said the work-life balance would likely be one of the areas that would be scrutinised as part of the Health Ministry’s efforts to refresh the public healthcare system under its Health White Paper.
“To handle this issue, we need more staff in public healthcare.
“We were happy to have recently met Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, who listened to our suggestions, and we hope that we can have more interactions with her and her team at the Health Ministry,” he added.