Business as usual in HKL, despite strike by contract doctors

03 Apr 2023 02:06pm
Patients are checking in at the Emergency Department in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) Photo by Sinar Daily
Patients are checking in at the Emergency Department in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) Photo by Sinar Daily

KUALA LUMPUR - All seems to be well in Hospital Kuala Lumpur today, despite reports of a Black Monday strike by contract doctors starting today.

However according to a staff nurse who declined to be named, half of the doctors did not turn up to work today.

She said the absence of the contract doctors will eventually burden the existing doctors who are serving today.

"The crowd is normal today, as you can see the doctors and nurses are busy serving the patients.

"Due to the strike, half of the doctors did not turn up to work today but we (nurse and doctors) are doing fine. Everything is as per usual.

"But if the strike continues, it will somehow burden the working doctors as their workload will double and they won't be able to get off days," she told Sinar Daily.

According to checks conducted by Sinar Daily, the atmosphere was calm and patients could be seen entering the hospital to get themselves checked and to get treatments.

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An elderly hopsital cleaner who only wanted to be known as Selvi said she heard complaints about services being stalled in the emergency department.

"We seem to have quite a crowd today, and usually the services in the emergency department is quite fast."I also heard some patients complaining about being served late but the nurse and doctors got it covered as we have enough staff in the emergency department," she said.

A patient, Nur Asma, 60 said the waiting process today was acceptable and it was the typical waiting time in government hospitals "The process is fine, the nurse and doctors are on their feet as per my observation so we are patiently waiting for our turn," she said.

Another patient, Muhammad Adib, 28 said the waiting time today was manageable and urged the government to solve the contract doctors issue.

"This is my first time here, as far as I see the waiting time is manageable, I hope that the contract doctor issue is solved otherwise it will affect the patients and many others," he said

However for Chan Mei Se, 47 who brought her father-in-law for a check-up here said that the waiting time is much longer than what she is used to

"Its been 40 minutes and I still haven't collect my father-in-law's medications

"My first two visits were much more better where I got served within 15 minutes.

"I guess the doctors head count are less due to the strike however, based on my observation, there are enough doctors and nurses but I am not sure why my turn is taking so long," she said.

More than 10,000 contract doctors are expected to be absent from work for three days starting today in a planned strike against the government.

The group of doctors threatening mass resignation in the nationwide strike are reportedly associated with an online account named “Mogok Doktor Malaysia” (Malaysian Doctors Strike) on social media.

The account has requested for doctors to take emergency or medical leave on April 3-5 as a sign of protest, adding that they do not encourage demonstrations or flashmobs, while warning of potential mass resignations on April 1.

“We have confirmed that an estimated 8,000 out of some 20,000 contract medical officers will participate in this strike or mass resignation event.

“(Some) 3,000 contract MOs will resign on April 1, while the rest will not be present to work from April 3-5,” a representative who declined to be named was quoted as saying.

Among the groups demands are to absorb all contract MOs into permanent positions without any conditions or interviews; provide basic salary increments, higher on-call rates; come up with a resolution to the shortage of specialists, MOs, and house officers; and prepare an automatic reduction in the compulsory service term for medical officers to three years.