Monday, August 26, 2013

Many doctors unwilling to serve in Sarawak

BorneoPost Online
KUCHING: Many doctors including Sarawakian professionals shun serving in the state and this had resulted in a relatively high 1:1,500 doctor patient ratio.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said Peninsular Malaysians who completed their residency or after serving two or so years in Sarawak had the tendency to request for a transfer out of the state.
The entire situation is worsened when Sarawakian doctors also preferred to serve in West Malaysia instead of their home state, he told a news conference after an official visit at the Sarawak General Hospital here on Saturday.
Dr Hilmi did not go into the reasons why most doctors had favoured hospitals in Peninsular Malaysia as their workplace.
He, however, said the ministry had offered allowances and incentives to encourage doctors to be stationed in Sarawak.
“Even though the ministry does not encourage them to pick where they want to serve, we do not force them into making certain decision either.”
In Peninsular Malaysia, he said the doctor-patient ratio stood at 1:700, still slightly higher than the objective of achieving 1:600.
Dr Hilmi said the ministry had policies in place to send West Malaysian medical students, who completed their training to serve in Sarawak.
“But two years later, they put in a transfer request back to West Malaysia.”
Meanwhile, Assistant Minister for Public Health Dr Jerip Susil, who was among those present at the news conference, said the state government had continued offering extra allowances for medical officers who chose to serve in Sarawak.
“This is different from the federal allowances, which means they will earn more. We aim to retain more Sarawakian professionals.”
Also present was state health director Datu Dr Zulkifli Jantan, who disclosed that the department received 70 medical officers from Peninsular Malaysia so far this year.
He said the number marked an encouraging increase against that of 40 last year.
“We are looking forward to taking in more medical officers to serve in Sarawak,” added Dr Zulkifli.

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