By Chew Lip Song
THE Health Ministry and the Public Services Department have been told to quickly upgrade medical officers and healthcare workers under contract as pledged by the previous government.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the Cabinet under the previous Pakatan Harapan government had agreed to upgrade the staff from UD41 to UD43 since November 2019.
“It is not fair for these healthcare workers as they carry out the same responsibility, same workload, and even face the same risk of exposure to any infectious disease including Covid-19, but they are treated differently and not given equal pay grade enjoyed by permanent Medical Officers that enjoy a UD44 grade,” he said in a statement.
He added that it was also unfair for all these contract healthcare workers who had been working hard especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, to be sidelined.
While he welcomed the assurance by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba that the Ministry would extend the duration of the contract to allow the staff to finish their specialisation programme, the Minister was not forthcoming on the details like the timeline for its implementation.
“Based on official Ministry statistics, only 3.3 per cent, or 665 doctors, of 19,909 contract medical officers were given permanent positions in the public sector as of July 31 this year.
“That means, almost 97% of our medical officers are getting not just a lower grade, but also do not enjoy other facilities including unpaid-leave facilities, certain hazard leaves and also HLP to further their specialisation in Local University in comparison to those under permanent post even though their responsibility and workload in the same.” Dr Yii added.
He urged the government to quickly address this issue swiftly, to show appreciation to the healthcare workers as they too needed security in their workplace.