Bullying and harassment persist in the medical field

Bullying and harassment persist in the medical field

Bullying and harassment persist in the medical fieldA study of doctors by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) found that bullying, harassment, and overwork were still common. For example, at least 60% of junior doctors worked extra daily hours.

The MMA’s Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers, and Specialists (SCHOMOS) and its Junior Doctor Network (JDN) conducted the survey. It showed that most Malaysian doctors work extra hours at least three times a week.

The survey found that 60% of junior doctors (those with less than two years of experience) work extra hours daily, while only 20% of doctors with more than two years of experience do the same. Another 30% to 40% still work additional hours thrice weekly.

As for the frequency of Malaysian doctors working overtime, 35 percent of doctors work overtime one to two times per week, 32 percent work overtime three to four times per week, 24 percent every day, and nine percent never,” she stated.

From 15 September to 1 October, the poll found that around 40% of doctors across states had been bullied.

The poll also found that victims were less likely to complain because of fear or they didn’t know what to do. Still, when they did, there was no action.


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The study found that there were 253 cases of bullying. The most cases reported are in Sarawak (15), Selangor (9), and Perak (8). But 197 of them were from unknown states. The survey says there have been no proven cases of bullying in Sabah and Melaka.

Bullying also affects doctors in all ranks, with 168 medical officers affected. In contrast, 50 percent of house officers and specialists who participated in the survey reported the same.

She said these results may only be the tip of the bullying iceberg and that many more people may suffer quietly.

States with no reports of bullying does not mean there aren’t any cases.

From 1 September to 1 October, 728 doctors in Malaysia, both the public and private health care systems, participated in the poll. There were 476 medical officers, 207 experts or consultants, and 46 house officers out of the whole group.

The results were important, even though it looked like the doctors who took the poll might only be a small part of all the doctors in the healthcare system.

With the resignation rate among Malaysian contract doctors rising by a staggering 1,131 percent in the last six years (2017-2022), as reported in the media, it is imperative that the Health Ministry urgently take proactive measures to ensure all necessary improvements in the work culture at all government healthcare facilities.

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