PUTRAJAYA: The number of medical specialists resigning from government hospitals has increased each year due to the public-private sector income disparity.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said 170 government medical specialists resigned last year, an increase from 158 the previous year.
“Most of those who resigned were medical specialists of Grade UD54 and above, who have a lot of experience and are highly skilled. It is a big loss for us,” he told a press conference, here, yesterday.
Although it was quite difficult for the ministry to match the salaries offered to medical specialists in the private sector, Dr Subramaniam said the government tried to narrow the gap by introducing flexible working hours as announced in Budget 2018.
Beginning Jan 1, medical specialists at government hospitals are allowed to take one day a week from their official working hours to supplement their income through the three options listed by the ministry, he said.
The options are conducting industry-sponsored medical research through Clinical Research Malaysia (CRM), lecturing medical students at public or private higher education institutions, or working in the private sector.
Apart from raising the income of government medical specialists, the implementation of flexible working hours is also expected to increase the number of researchers in the medical field, encourage the transfer of knowledge to medical students and increase the motivation of the specialists.
Dr Subramaniam said the ministry was also working at producing more medical specialists through parallel programmes and post-graduate medical programmes in public universities.
“As of Dec 31, a total of 950 medical officers participating in specialist training via the parallel programmes had registered with the Medical Development Division according to their expertise,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam said currently, there were 4,460 medical specialists serving with the ministry, with several subspecialties such as cardiology, neurosurgery and nephrology, experiencing a shortage of specialists.
He said each year, the ministry produced about 1,000 medical specialists in over 30 subspecialties who replaced those who retired or resigned, and to meet the shortage of lecturers at higher education institutions. – Bernama