06 February 2008

Medical officers to get incentive to work overtime

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Monetary goodies will be given to medical officers as an incentive for working overtime at health clinics selected to operate after normal hours to ease the overcrowding of patients at hospitals.

The Health Ministry will also provide benefits to medical specialists and officers who will now have to perform elective surgeries on Saturdays at 19 hospitals from 8am to 1pm to ease the backlog of cases.

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the rates for the doctors would be RM80 an hour from the usual RM30 while for the elective surgery component, the specialists will receive RM200 hourly and medical officers will be paid RM80 per hour.

The annual allocation from the Government is RM12.31mil and RM6.9mil for both components.

Both ideas had been discussed during former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek's tenure and now acting Health Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting has brought the issue to Cabinet for approval.

"There have been complaints of patients coming after office hours and crowding the emergency services. A lot of people are not happy," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"We heard of emergency cases not being seen. They were seeing only those with coughs and colds. We cannot send them away. So, now we open up clinics, instead of them thronging the hospital; and get doctors to work after office hours."

He added the move would also lessen the waiting time of patients.

He said it was hoped the decision would enable the people to obtain health services quickly and easily after office hours and lessen the burden on emergency units at hospitals so staff would be able to concentrate and provide more efficient services to critical and emergency patients.

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