Good news for contractors

KUALA LUMPUR: Applications for permanent positions for 4,053 health workers in the civil service have been approved, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The health minister said the number of approvals was the highest since the contract post model was introduced in 2016.

Approved applications include 3,215 doctors, 438 dentists, 400 pharmacists, and the remaining 225 are reserved.

“This is the biggest increase in healthcare positions since 2016, when the contractual policy was introduced.

“The government is committed to securing at least 1,500 permanent new positions in public health care every year,” he told reporters after the policy dialogue at the 2022 Health Policy Summit yesterday.

Khairy added that the department was in talks with the Civil Service Commission to consider allowing applicants who did not secure permanent positions to reapply the following year.

“We should give them another chance,” he said.

Khairy also said they would ensure that contract doctors receive better incentives while allowing them to pursue specialist or sub-specialty training if they fail to secure permanent positions.

“We will look into the possibilities after a discussion with the Malaysian Medical Association,” he said.

Khairy spoke as a panel member at the two-day summit titled “The Future of Our Healthcare” which discusses key areas of health and healthcare reform.

Also in attendance were former Minister of Health Tan Sri Dr S. Subramaniam, Executive Director of the Sunway Center for Planetary Health Tan Sri Prof Dr Jemilah Mahmood and Chairman of Axiata Group Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, who joined on a virtual platform.

The three main areas covered were the financing of public hospitals, quality of service and governance.

Khairy said possible models of decentralizing service delivery by the ministry would be explored while also decentralizing power to hospitals.

“At the moment, there is an over-concentration of power. We are considering giving autonomy to public hospitals nationwide.

“However, the hospitals will remain government property. We are advancing ideas to allow hospitals to have their own operational freedom, such as deciding their own budget,” he said.

He added that hospital managers would have their own board of directors and would act in the same way as the chief executive of a company.

When asked if hospitals would decide on their own charges, Khairy said the government would always control the issue.

Regarding the social protection or insurance scheme, the minister said that the funds received from tax revenues would be used first before exploring other means of financing.

This includes requesting a higher budget allocation from the Ministry of Finance (MOF), he added.

Asked about the possibility of reallocating budgets from other ministries to his ministry, he said a decision had to be taken by Cabinet on how the revenue would be distributed.

Considering the health care burdens the ministry is facing post Covid-19, Khairy said a request for a decent increase in the allowance under the 2023 budget has been sent to the Ministry of Finance.

“This year is important because we are adding the most hospitals, which will increase overhead. We therefore expect commensurate funding,” he said, adding that a discussion with Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz would take place at the end of the month.

On Monday, Khairy said public health spending should be increased to 5% of gross domestic product to ensure Malaysia has a world-standard public health system in the future.

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