KUALA LUMPUR: Health Director-General (DG) Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has made a plea at the eleventh hour to medical practitioners supporting the Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement to not take part in the planned walkout from hospitals tomorrow.
Dr Noor Hisham on his Facebook page yesterday said doctors taking part in the strike are putting the lives of their patients at risk, and their jobs on the line.
He also reminded them of their oaths when they first started their medical careers.
“Calling all my fellow colleagues, doctors and healthcare workers to remember the oath we all made when we began our profession: ‘primum non nocere’, (which means) first do no harm or injustice to our patients,” he said in the post, reported The Vibes.
“To our junior colleagues on contract posts, I urge all of you to please not join the demonstration and abandon your duty to your patients.
“Remember, many lives are on the line, and the demonstration could affect their lives and your career.”
Dr Noor Hisham’s plea comes less than a day before the movement stages its walkout from government hospitals at 11am tomorrow.
The Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement has pushed for doctors in contractual positions to be given permanent employment and other benefits, including better access to further their studies.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had on Friday offered temp doctors, dentists and pharmacists a two-year contract upon completing their compulsory service – a decision made ahead of the planned walkout tomorrow.
However, the movement maintained that its “protest” will go ahead, as the offer is largely seen as a stopgap measure despite cries from healthcare frontliners wanting job security.
Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry understands that the movement supporters want permanent posts, adding that the two-year extension is only a temporary solution.
“This is to give time for the amendment to be made to the Pension Act, so that permanent positions can be allowed to be employed with Employee Provident Fund (EPF), i.e. without pension option.
“Meanwhile, the government will allow those in contract positions to continue their studies, and will offer them a permanent EPF position once made available.”
The Hartal Doktor Kontrak movement explained that prior to 2016, a new doctor will need to undergo a two-year mandatory service as a house officer on contract, before being awarded an annual practising cert and absorbed as a medical officer with a permanent post.
However, the government has since introduced a contract system for medical officers as a temporary measure to address an influx of medical students becoming house officers, which resulted in only 789 out of 23,077 officers having received a permanent placement.
Dr Noor Hisham, however, reminded the movement supporters that the safety of patients is their priority.
“Remember the oath we took sincerely and be there for your patients at a time when they and country need you most.
“We are the last bastion of defence to make a difference to our patients, and every life matters.”