Saturday, July 16, 2005

Interesting Editorial in the Star

The Star Online > Focus

Friday July 15, 2005

Finally, government doctors and specialists get their dues

COMMENT by V.K. CHIN

GOVERNMENT doctors must be feeling really high with the latest round of salary adjustments and better promotion prospects. They may need some medication to bring them down to earth again.

It sounds too good to be true and the Government in general, and Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek in particular, must be commended for giving the housemen, medical doctors and specialists due recognition for their qualifications and hard work.

For several decades, these medical workers, who form the most highly trained group in government service, have been trying to improve their working conditions to little or no avail.
Until Dr Chua came along, previous health ministers had only paid lip service in helping the doctors and many just used them to get some cheap publicity.
While this subject had almost been talked to death, they did nothing substantial or concrete to relieve the doctors' plight.
Yet in a year, Dr Chua was able to deal with many of the existing grouses faced by the doctors, who found their working environment in particular quite atrocious and demeaning.
Finally, there is light at the end of the long tunnel and at least financially, life is more bearable as a houseman will be able to earn some RM4,000 a month plus allowances.
With better financial incentives, doctors and specialists, including the experienced ones, may be happy to remain in government service rather than leave for greener pastures.
The brain drain is the biggest problem facing the Government and there is a good possibility that many of them, especially those who have just completed their national service, may be encouraged to remain.

Due to the exodus, government hospitals and clinics are almost permanently short of medical officers and specialists to deal with the growing number of patients.

Having enough doctors is the biggest challenge to the ministry and the shortage means that those in service, especially in the bigger hospitals and clinics, will have to do overtime or be on call almost non-stop.
This must be a severe strain on the doctors and other medical staff, and due to the lack of proper rest they are bound to make mistakes. They will have less time to spend with each patient and some may seem rather rude.
The younger doctors, especially the housemen, should have little complaints about money, as what they will be getting is actually more than what many general practitioners are getting outside.
This is especially the case in a one-man practice where the GP will really have to struggle to survive.
It is really a jungle out there and government doctors will have to think more than twice before quitting.

Comment : It's a step in the right direction but I don't really think we need any medication to bring us down to earth. But I agree that it is a jungle out here and job security is something that is true only in Government service. I hope they will continue to improve..Good on ya Dr Chua Soi Lek.

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