I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Honorable Prime Minister and the Honorable Minister of Health for the efforts and consideration in dealing with the problem of the lack of healthcare workers as well as the issue of contract healthcare workers who have provided dedicated service especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I fully support the MADANI government’s progressive initiative for an allocation of RM 3 billion to appoint 1,500 Medical Officers, Dental Officers and Pharmacy Officers to permanent positions. Today, the Honorable Health Minister has announced the establishment of a High Level Committee to deal with issues related to contract doctors.
After my debate on the Budget 2023 in Dewan Negara on 29th March 2023, where i touched amongst other things, regarding the long standing issue of contract doctors being absorbed into the system as permanent staff, as well as the critical shortage of healthcare workers from various schemes, i have managed to have an engagement with the Honourable Health Minister’s team.
I am well aware of the continuous engagement and persistent effort by the Health Minister and her team in negotiating with the Public Service Department (PSD) on this issue. I would like to further explain that it’s the absolute prerogative of the PSD when it comes to absorption of contract staff as permanent officers of the government as well as appointing more healthcare workers to the system.
We have to take our hats off to the new Health Minister who has been fighting tooth and nail from the get go on this issue. I must say, I am heartened at her valor and commitment to our health care workers despite futile attempts by her predecessors.
It’s safe to say that there are no simple solutions for complex issues. There are no short term solutions for long term problems. And there is no single way out for challenges involving various stakeholders such as in this predicament. I appeal to all parties to give some space to the new MADANI Government which was established four months ago to find a way out for this issue.
As a healthcare practitioner myself and someone who has risen from the civil service, I understand the pain and sacrifices of our junior doctors and their welfare and grouses will be brought up to the relevant stakeholders at every opportunity given to me.
Nevertheless , the core business of healthcare involves the life and death of the Rakyat. The public healthcare service is the social safety net for all citizens who have no access to private healthcare services.
Therefore, in view of this situation, I plead with my fellow brothers and sisters who have taken the Hippocratic oath with me, to hold on to the planned strike that has been planned on April 3rd to April 5th. And if you still feel strongly to continue this industrial action, I humbly request you to inform your superiors so that necessary contingencies can be put in place to ensure that service continuity is not effected and the lives of our patients and rakyat is not jeopardized.
Primum Non Nocere. (First Do No Harm)
YB Senator Dr RA Lingeshwaran
1st APRIL 2023