THE Health Ministry will address the surfeit of medical graduates and new nurses who have yet to get placement in government hospitals. Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the oversupply was due to an increase in medical graduates from local and foreign institutions. “The second reason is that the ministry was implementing the human resource optimisation policy, which means there will be no additional new posts offered but on a trade-off or redeployment,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama.
Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry was aware of the issue and to overcome it, the ministry had several measures. One of the measures mentioned was to change the method from permanent to contract appointment in which the officer has the opportunity to go under housemanship and obtain full registration as required under the Medical Act to improve the clinical skills and experience of the medical officers. Health Minister also to enforce a moratorium on medical programmes with the cooperation of the Education Ministry which will be extended to April 30, 2021 with the aim of imposing a quota on medical graduates by universities in the country. The original period was for five years from May 1, 2011 to April 30 2016 and it has been extended to April 30, 2021. He said under the moratorium, there would be no new medical programmes at degree level and no increase in the quota of medical student intake. However, the ministry will not be able to control the intake or medical graduates coming out of foreign universities.
“Apart from that, the ministry had increased the training slots for graduates from 10,835 to 11, 706 through additional graduate training hospitals. The ministry had increased the number of graduate training hospitals from 38 in 2009 to 47 hospitals now,” he said. It covers 44 hospitals under the ministry and three teaching hospitals (Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre and Universiti Malaya Medical Centre) in 2018. Other measures taken included increasing the number graduate training posting. “Several new postings had been introduced in stages to increase training slots and placement of graduates in anaesthesia, emergency services, psychiatric and premier health departments. Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry would continue recruit Grade UD41 medical officers in phases under contract every two months, depending on the vacancies of training slots. On the issue of graduate nurses who have yet to receive placement in government hospitals, he said the ministry had reduced the number of nurse trainees from 2,274 in 2016 to 1,742 in 2018 (a drop of 23%). Apart from that, the ministry will also appeal for special approval from the Public Service Department (JPA) to increase the number of permanent posts or to allow the ministry to appoint graduate nurses from the Health Ministry Training Institutes on contract.
Dr Dzulkefly said the application is still under consideration by JPA, he said.