Last-minute postings for doctors make no sense, says ex-deputy minister

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Doctors had complained about receiving last-minute placement notice from the health ministry, leaving them in a bind. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Last-minute placements of medical officers (MOs) should not take place as such postings are planned ahead of time, says former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

He said unless there were legitimate reasons, such as emergencies or disciplinary actions, MOs should be given ample notice of their placements.

“All this should be a planned operation, it is not an emergency, so why should it be last minute? The public services department (JPA) will know from their own experience that you cannot transfer a government servant within 24 hours. It doesn’t make sense,” Lee told FMT.

“JPA and the health ministry should communicate and make sure that this does not happen.

“The transfer of doctors is pre-planned, it is not an urgent posting, by right they should be given ample time to prepare. The move may involve their family members and it is inhumane to inform them at the last minute.”

Lee said there was a committee within the health ministry that would decide on postings.

“They have regular meetings on postings and requests for transfer. So, this (last-minute placements) should not happen.”

On Twitter, a user who goes by thepettykutty shared her experience of having to uproot at the eleventh hour due to a last-minute posting by the health ministry.

“This was me relocating my entire life from Pahang to Kedah, then downsizing to a few luggagges to fly to Kuching, only to be given a placement three to four hours away and told to ‘lapor diri’ the very next day,” she tweeted, accompanied by a picture of her with her luggage by the road side.

“Luckily a kind PKD (district health) driver came to our rescue. I rarely speak about these experiences but this move was one of the lowest points in my career. The system has to change, how long are we expected to go on like this?”

FMT has reached out to health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa for comment.

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