KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry has pledged to solve the glut of medical graduates and new nurses who have yet to get placement in government hospitals.
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the glut came about because of an increase in the number of medical graduates from local and foreign institutions.
“The second reason is that the ministry was implementing the human resource optimisation policy which means there will be no additional new posts offered but a trade-off or redeployment,” he said in an interview with Bernama recently.
Dzulkefly said the ministry had changed the method of appointment, from permanent to contract appointment, and also enforced a moratorium on medical programmes until the end of April 2021.
The moratorium, under which a quota is placed on medical graduates from universities, has been in place from 2011 to 2016 and was extended to 2021.
No new medical programmes at degree level would be introduced, and there would be no increase in the quota of medical student intake from public universities.
“Apart from that, the ministry had increased the training slots for graduates from 10,835 to 11,706 through additional graduate training hospitals. The ministry had increased the number of graduate training hospitals from 38 in 2009 to 47 hospitals now,” he said.
There are 44 such hospitals under the ministry and three teaching hospitals — Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Malaya.
Other measures taken included increasing the number of postings, and increased training slots and placement of graduates in anaesthesia, emergency services, psychiatric and other fields.
Dzulkefly said the ministry would continue recruiting Grade UD41 medical officers in phases under contract every two months, depending on the vacancies for training slots.
On the issue of graduate nurses who have yet to receive placement in government hospitals, he said the ministry had reduced the number of nurse trainees from 2,274 in 2016 to 1,742 in 2018 (a drop of 23%), he said.
Apart from that, the ministry will also appeal for special approval from the Public Service Department (JPA) to increase the number of permanent posts or to allow the ministry to appoint graduate nurses from the Health Ministry Training Institutes on contract.
The application is still under consideration by JPA, he said.