KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — The Malaysian Medics International (MMI) wants a stop to the bullying and mistreatment of house officers following the death of a junior doctor assigned to the Penang general hospital.
MMI said studies and reports have revealed the existence of atrocious horizontal violence and harassment against junior doctors that the Ministry of Health (MoH) has not addressed in an effective way.
The group suggested several steps that can be taken to help change the working environment for health care professionals among them is to shift the cultural mindset of workforce bullying and more respectful communication in workplace policies.
They asked to eliminate the culture of harsh training, pointing out that prolonged exposure could result in a toxic workplace environment.
“Additionally, studies have shown that toxic workplace environments would consequently indirectly impair the quality of patient care delivered by our future specialists and MOs should they be consistently subjected to horizontal violence and unjust work expectations,” the group said in a statement.
“We urge the MoH to enforce a transparent front when a major audit of the horsemanship’s work conditions. We plead that the MoH addresses the current issue of atrocious horizontal violence seriously and enforces compassionate mentoring and professional communication standards toward all medical colleagues alike.
“Bullying, verbal and emotional abuse, racist remarks and gaslighting should be strongly opposed,” they said.
The group also urged authorities to regulate the working hours for young doctors saying that the 65-75 hours of work per week was unfair to young doctors.
The last recommendation MMI suggested was to encourage active maintenance of mental health and physical wellbeing among senior and junior medical staff members.
“We implore the government’s insight in encouraging positive professional and pastoral support in clinical areas of high workforce stress and time-pressured settings.
“In light of reports about doctors being ridiculed for seeking pastoral support when in times of personal duress, we plead that the MOH implements better maintenance of mental health and wellbeing policies in professional workplaces, as well as to ease the accessibility of medical staff to mental health services that they need without any stigma or prejudice towards their active initiative to preserve their mental and physical wellbeing for the sake of providing better patient care,” they added.
Last week, the Penang Health Department confirmed the death of a houseman assigned to the state general hospital, after news reports of the incident raised questions over the work conditions for junior doctors.
State health director Dr Ma’arof Sudin said the trainee doctor was placed at the Penang Hospital on April 4 and fell to his death on April 17 from the latter’s building of residence.
Police are investigating the case.