MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Malaysia’s Ministry Of Health (MOH) Announces Immediate Locum Payment for Doctors

malaysian doctors locum

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad confirms the RM80 per hour locum allowance payment for medical officers at MOH healthcare facilities.

This announcement came after doctors spoke out against substituting locum allowances with claim hours for working extended hours on Sundays and public holidays.

Locum Allowance and Claim Hours

In January 2024, the Selangor State Health Department (JKNS) stopped paying medical officers for several public health clinics that provide services for extended hours on Sundays and public holidays. The locum allowance was substituted with claim hours, also known as replacement leaves. 

Medical officers affected by this change were upset by the suspension of the allowance. It previously provided an RM320 allowance for four extra hours of work. They also stated that the JKNS only informed them regarding the substitution after they had put in their extra hours for January.

Medical Officers Resort To Paying Colleagues

An anonymous source who works as a medical officer in one of the affected clinics spoke to CodeBlue, stating that the change made it difficult to look for locum replacements on Sundays and public holidays. He also explained that it was unfair how medical officers who worked extended hours on weekdays and Saturdays could claim the extra hours. However, those working on Sundays and public holidays could not do so. 

This was made worse because replacement leaves could only be used if there were enough staff to run the clinic on the day of the leave. This led to some medical officers paying their colleagues for the 4 hours of extended work. This is especially in the case of family events/emergencies. 

Staff Shortage Complicated Leave Application

Another medical officer stated that it was difficult to obtain approval for leave applications. This is due to insufficient manpower, especially on public holidays. He stated that patient loads were heavy on weekends and public holidays. He felt that the overwhelming number of patients frequently led to subpar treatment. 

The doctor also compared the locum rate with the private sector, which pays RM160 to RM200 for the same duration of work. The increasing workload, the need to put in extra unpaid hours due to patient load and the lack of manpower have led to frustration among the affected medical officers. 

Health Minister Announces Payment Effective Immediately

Dr. Dzulkefly stated that payments would be processed immediately and that the matter was considered resolved. This means that medical officers work extended hours from 9 am to 1 pm on Sundays and public holidays, extended hours on weekdays from 5 pm to 9.30 pm, and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.   

Conclusion

The MOH needs to improve its efforts to provide better patient care without compromising the well-being of healthcare providers. Healthcare providers in Malaysia have had to make many sacrifices to prevent the collapse of the healthcare system. Many healthcare professionals have left or are contemplating leaving for greener pastures. Therefore, the MOH will need to improve patient care while retain healthcare professionals to serve the nation.

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