Bullying: Ministry to hold closed-door dialogues with junior doctors

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad says he understands that the junior doctors and housemen may be afraid to come forward to lodge complaints through official channels.

KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry will organise closed-door dialogue sessions with junior doctors and housemen to discuss issues pertaining to their placements.

“We understand that though we have channels for them to lodge their complaints, many junior doctors and housemen are afraid to come forward because they fear being victimised later.

“We will host dialogues with them. The director-general, his deputy or I will attend if need be, because we need to get to the bottom of this,” said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad at the Parliament lobby today.

He said the dialogues would be held with the Graduate Training Committee (Jawatankuasa Latihan Siswazah) in stages nationwide.

Dzulkefly was commenting on a survey which found that a majority of junior doctors in the country claimed to have been bullied at their workplace, with about 17% saying it was so bad that they thought of ending their lives.

The survey, which was reported earlier today, was conducted among members of the Doctors Only Bulletin Board System (DOBBS), an online forum which brings together doctors in Malaysia.

It also found that 79.63% of respondents said they had experienced bullying.

Of these, 71% said their experiences were serious enough to be categorised as “symptomatic bullying”.

The survey comes just three weeks after police began an investigation into a report by a houseman at a government hospital in Kuala Lumpur against a senior doctor.

The houseman told FMT he had wrongly presented a case during one of his rounds, and that the doctor had begun “screaming and shouting profanities”.

The houseman claimed that the doctor regularly shouted at other hospital staff as well.

He said the doctor had grabbed him by the collar on two occasions and also threatened to punch him.

He said the incidents were witnessed by patients, nurses, housemen and medical officers.

Survey: Majority of junior docs bullied, some considered suicide