The Ministry of Health recently announced that housemen need to be on call to report for duty even on their off days.
Doktor pelatih boleh dipanggil bertugas pada hari cuti rehat.
— KKMPutrajaya (@KKMPutrajaya) April 5, 2019
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad added, “This decision is entirely up to requirement and discretion of their Heads of Department or supervisor.”
The announcement, however, did not go down well with the Malaysian medical community. Two doctors penned viral replies lambasting the new policy for cruelly treating doctors like robots.
In an article published by The Sun Daily dated 14th January 2019, it was revealed that young doctors and housemen were already working over 80 hours a week.
“Currently, housemen who are rotated to a different department every four months start with a whole two weeks without a break, before being rostered for 16-hour days with only one off day a week. Usually, they often have to be at the hospital for up to 18 hours a day.”
Wow, imagine taking away their only off day! Think about the consequences of that.
Because doctors are not at their best physically and mentally when they’re tired, they tend to makes mistakes that harm patients more often and are also more likely to hurt themselves.
Many others have also criticized the decision of the Health Ministry to announce such a move.
One netizen writes, “Pathetic, selfish. Humans are not robots!”
Another writes, “Why are labour laws not applicable to housemen? Are doctors superhuman?”
Despite the challenges faced by our doctors, we salute them for a job well done despite the circumstances.
The government should make patient safety and care a priority. It is our right as Malaysians to have access to quality medical services.
While Malaysia has one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world, we should not stop trying to improve standards for patients and practitioners alike.
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