Take CodeBlue survey outcome positively, speed up reforms, MOH told

THE Health Ministry should take the findings in the CodeBlue survey titled “Dissatisfaction Among Healthcare Professionals and Workers in Malaysia’s Heath Service” positively and work towards speeding up reforms in the healthcare system.

According to the Malaysia Medical Association (MMA) the findings confirmed what the association has been highlighting and that is many public healthcare workers are frustrated with the system.

“Though only 1,652 participated in the survey, it should not be taken lightly. What is worrying is that not just the junior doctors are unhappy. Even senior doctors and allied healthcare workers are frustrated with the system,” said MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai.

According to the survey which included participation of government doctors, pharmacists, dentists, medical assistants, nurses, and allied health care workers nationwide, 70% (7 in 10) of the healthcare workers are thinking of quitting.

“If this many are thinking of quitting, we are concerned as to how long more can they endure the frustration while carrying out their duties,” Dr Muruga pointed out.

“Will the Health Ministry’s planned reforms take place before they break down or leave for better opportunities? Already, the frustration is boiling over at the overcrowded emergency departments of our public hospitals.

“The MMA is deeply concerned as the dissatisfaction with the system can have a negative impact on the delivery of care therefore some immediate steps need to be taken.”

According to Dr Muruga, data on bed utilisation and distribution of data on bed utilisation and distribution of house officers (HOs), medical officers (MOs), specialists, nurses, assistant medical officers, pharmacists and allied healthcare workers should immediately be used to address the anomaly in distribution of manpower.

He said while it is understandable that many of the needed reforms will need time and funding to implement, the ministry should – as immediate steps – go for the lower-hanging fruits and address problems that do not require long administrative processes and additional funding.

These include improvements to the work environment as well as the work-life balance of healthcare workers.

“We believe there is enough data to work with to make some immediate improvements. Human resources is the most important asset to any organisation therefore we urge MOH to prioritise the wellbeing of our healthcare workers as it seeks ways to improve the system,” Dr Muruga remarked.

He further acknowledged that Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has been working hard and has shown a strong commitment towards healthcare reforms but some of these improvements should be fast-tracked.

“We hope that as the government prepares for the re-tabling of Budget 2023, a more meaningful budget for health will be allocated with emphasis given to increasing and enhancing healthcare human resources,” he noted.

“We believe the Prime Minister who is a reformist himself understands the importance of a resilient healthcare system and therefore we hope that the budget for health will be reflective of the government’s commitment towards the much needed healthcare reforms.” – Feb 2, 2023

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