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Over 3,000 contract doctors resigned since 2017, says health minister

The bulk of them – over 1,300 – resigned in 2022.

2 minute read
Contract doctors at Hospital Kuala Lumpur hold up placards during a walkout in 2021.
Contract doctors at Hospital Kuala Lumpur hold up placards during a walkout in 2021.

A total of 3,386 out of 29,548 contract medical officers appointed by the health ministry resigned from 2017 to 2021, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa says.
She said 110 of them resigned in 2017, followed by 168 in 2018, 475 in 2019, 511 in 2020, 768 in 2021 and 1,354 in 2022.

"One of the reasons they left is because they chose to join the private sector or other statutory bodies that offer more attractive remuneration. 

"Besides this, there were some who opened their own clinics, furthered their studies, migrated overseas or left due to personal reasons and health factors, including mental pressure," she said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address for her ministry at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

To Mohammed Taufiq Johari (PH-Sungai Petani) who asked about bully victims among doctors who have had their details leaked, bringing about negative implications including added pressure, Zaliha said she was informed that this had been going on for some time.

She added that measures were underway so that such cases would not recur. 

She also advised experienced medical officers to guide new medical officers as mentors, ensuring that junior officers are comfortable in carrying out their duties.

Zaliha said the health ministry had also submitted an application for special allocations to improve and upgrade health facilities across the country with immediate effect, considering that 1,200 of its 3,119 health clinics over 50 years old are in a poor and dilapidated condition with most of them built on wood structures. 

"That is why the health ministry is committed to getting the budget allocation increased to 5% of GDP because we want the continuation of this funding to cover the expenses in our health facilities," Zaliha said.

She said the ministry would also table a health white paper to explain the basis of funding needs and outline an improved health delivery strategy.