Longer waiting hours in health clinics, public hospitals as doctors go on strike on April 3-5

THE Mogok Doktor Malaysia (Malaysian Doctors on Strike) movement has cautioned people to not visit health clinics and public hospitals on April 3 to 5 as waiting hours there are expected to be longer while the strike is underway.

Previously, the movement of doctors attached to the Health Ministry had urged contract medical officers to take emergency or medical leave on the said dates as a sign of protest.

“Dear Malaysians, kindly do not visit any general hospitals or health clinics from April 3 to April 5 as there are more than 8,000 contract doctors who are going [on a] job strike by taking medical or emergency leave as a protest against the unfair system and low wages,” read a post on the Mogok Doktor Malaysia Instagram page today (March 30).

“So your waiting time will be longer than usual. Thank you.”

According to The Star, organisers on March 29 said they had asked doctors to take emergency or medical leave on April 3-5 as a sign of protest.

“Walkouts, demonstrations or flashmobs are discouraged. Please take EL (emergency leave) or MC (medical leave). Meanwhile, those who intend to resign can resign en masse on April 1, 2023,” another post on Instagram read.

A representative of the group who spoke to the English daily on conditions of anonymity said that it had decided to proceed with the strike peacefully by taking emergency leave or medical leave “because demonstration or walkouts will cause harm”.

“We have confirmed that an estimated 8,000 out of some 20,000 contract medical officers (MOs) will participate in this strike or mass resignation event,” the representative told The Star.

“(Some) 3,000 contract MOs will resign on April 1, while the rest will not be present to work from April 3-5,” the representative said.

The group’s demands include the absorption of all contract MOs into permanent positions without any conditions or interviews; basic salary increments; higher on-call rates; a resolution to the shortage of specialists, MOs and house officers; and an automatic reduction in the compulsory service term for medical officers to three years.

It is also calling for a reduction in on-call and work hours for MOs and house officers, while on-call hours should not exceed six times a month, and working hours needed to be capped at 60 hours a week.

Responding to the matter, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said an unplanned strike is not the best solution to any problems that arise related to the medical profession – or any other profession for that matter.

Rather, the problems that arise need to be dealt with through joint involvement and a more prudent way, he said, adding that a strike can generally cause a service to be affected for as long as it is organised.

“However, this matter needs to be considered carefully. This is because health services are a critical service especially because it involves human lives and the well-being of the people,” he said in a statement yesterday (March 29). – March 30, 2023


Main pic credit: The Star

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