Doctors: What’s next after houseman contracts end?

doctorPETALING JAYA: A government scheme to employ medical graduates as contract housemen has received a cautious welcome, with questions arising about the housemen’s fate when the contracts expire.

Malaysian Medical Association secretary Koh Kar Chai said in a text message to FMT that medical graduates employed on contract could get the necessary training to mould them into healthcare professionals.

However he asked what would happen after the contracts expired.

Senior physician Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdous shared the same sentiment. “Before we forget, let us remind ourselves that this is a short term move to ease the oversupply of medical graduates,” he told FMT.

However there was no guarantee that contract housemen could continue in service, unlike those who are training under the Health Ministry.

Dr Faizal called for medium-term and long-term plans to solve the oversupply of medical graduates.

“It would be a waste for the students taking five years to complete their degree and in the end they cannot find jobs,” he said.

As for the government’s introduction of a new Grade 56 in the civil service salary scheme, Dr Koh saw it as a stop-gap measure to retain professionals in service.

“Some feel it might delay the promotion process when they could make the jump straight to Jusa C category,” he said. Jusa C is a high-ranking category for such positions as specialist doctors and hospital deputy directors.

Dr Faizal said the new Grade 56 should not be a glass ceiling for medical servants to move up to Jusa C.

“This should not be the reason to restrict eligible candidates to move up in the ranks,” he said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the new Grade 56 was introduced to retain specialist doctors in the public healthcare. He also announced that from December, approximately 2,600 graduates who cannot find housemanship placement, can now work at a hospital on a contract basis.