More than 2,000 government trainee doctors, dentists, and pharmacists may see their contracts extended another six months, the third time such an extension has been given since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Malaysian shores early this year, MalaysiaNow has learnt.
But a health ministry source said details of the extension and costs involved would only be made known in the 2021 budget, to be tabled this Friday.
It is believed that health officials are anticipating a greater demand for manpower in terms of frontliners as the battle against the virus continues, with a sharp rise in number of cases since last month.
There are also concerns that hospital wards for critically ill patients with non-communicable diseases have been short-staffed amid the focus on Covid-19.
Such patients include those suffering from cancer, kidney disease, and diabetes.
“We can make use of more trained doctors without needing to import them, to replace the many specialists who have been working hard to treat Covid-19 patients,” the source told MalaysiaNow.
The health ministry initially extended the contracts of some 2,000 trainee doctors, dentists, and pharmacists by six months in April, during the first few weeks of the Covid-19 crisis.
A second extension was announced in September.