Doctors get less on-call pay than waiters

Doctors get less on-call pay than waiters

Doctors get less on-call pay than waitersThe Health Ministry’s recent decision to reject the demand for an increase in on-call allowances for public health doctors has disappointed the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

The request to increase public healthcare doctors’ weekend on-call pay from the existing hourly rate of RM9.16 to RM25 rejected by the ministry, which MMA President Dr. Azizan Abdul Aziz criticized as being both callous and ineffective.

“The ministry’s response stating that RM9.16 is a ‘appropriate’ rate is an insult to not only doctors but all healthcare workers in the country,” remarked Dr Azizan in a statement today.

“Is the government even aware that there are waiters in the country who get paid a higher hourly rate than its doctors? Contrary to the government’s explanation – the amount is paid for 24 hours of work (which would not be paid had the doctor not worked), therefore the RM220 should be divided by 24 hours,” she added.

In contrary to what the government said, Dr. Azizan said that the money paid for 24 hours of work and would not given out if the doctor hadn’t worked. As a result, split the RM220 allotment by 24 hours.


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She also emphasized that there is no clear ranking system or adequate assessment and evaluation of doctors in the permanent selection criteria, which are quite broad.

The group also drew attention to errors in the government’s reaction that have misled the public.

Dr. Azizan explained that eligibility for the aforementioned allowances varies based on the position and rank of public healthcare physicians.

“Most doctors do not receive such allowances, as stated in the government’s reply,” she said.

MMA urged the government to reexamine and rethink its position on the proposed on-call rate hike, voicing worries that the decision may not reached with all the facts.

Dr. Azizan brought out an earlier event from this year in which the administration provided a factually false explanation of the on-call allowance in the media, which never acknowledged or apologized for.

The group also used a 1,131 percent increase in contract medical officer resignations between 2017 and 2022 to remind the government of the concerning attrition rates in the public health system.

Furthermore, between 2018 and 2022, 890 specialists left the government, leaving more than 4 specialists every week on average.

“The frustration among doctors in public healthcare is a matter not to taken lightly. There is concern that, on top of the burnout many doctors are experiencing coupled with the low wages earned, issues like the stagnant on-call allowance may spark further frustration and brain drain.

“Doctors in public healthcare have not seen an increase in on-call allowance for over a decade. Taking into consideration inflation, the on-call allowance rate reviewed every five years.” she added.

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