Why we left and why we will continue to leave...Posted by: MS Mohamad
I read an interesting article today about a few prominent figures addressing their concern over the increasing UKM and UM medical graduates who have left the country to continue their medical practice overseas.
After reading the news for 3 times, I called a very close friend, an MD (UKM) graduate to ask his opinion on how the news might have affected him. He has been working in Singapore for more than a decade as a Consultant Surgeon with a certain sub-specialty
"Why be a slave in your own country, when you are a king in another?" He replied.
By the word slave, the writer does not exaggerate. He came out with his own experiences.
I still remember the days when I was doing seeing patients and rounds as an MO, while the staff nurses would mind their own business, having breakfast in the pantry, or having gossip chats at their own leisure. My House Officers would then have to do merely all the labour-work, up to the extent of setting intravenous drips, and serving medications. If I am to expect the nurses, my patients would have been dead, or the work would have been too slowly or incompletely done.
When I was a House Officer, I had to run down 4-5 floors just to review a blood investigation of a dying dengue patient. The ward staff would either be nowhere around, or will say that he is busy (busier than the doctor?) or the answer I got at that time:
"Doktor nak cepat, doktor turun sendirilah, gaji doktor lagi banyak dari saya"
Even when I was a Specialist, the staff nurses had to be called again and again just to make sure the management plan for the patient would be done. I was already used to answers from them:
“I’m busy with something else"
“My shift is already over"
...it was routine for me.
One time when I was a District Hospital Medical Officer, I was conducting a delivery of a baby. An MA insisted that I remove my car which was block-parking his car. I answered through the phone that I was busy.
He came to the labor room and yelled "Semua orang pun sibuk jugak, macamlah doktor seorang yang sibuk!”
This maybe just a few people, and the writer is unlucky enough to meet these kind of people over and over again. I myself had only experienced working and interacting with the non-goverment medical servants and they gave a good impression on me. So this might be biased, as for sure a 2 weeks experience cannot be compared with a two decades. Suddenly coming back to Malaysia (which is already a scary idea looking how unprepared I am to be a doctor) seems so terrifying.
The state health or Hospital Director would just give another inspirational talk (of bollocks) on team effort and beauty of teamwork.Ooh, now I know how I got the wrong news.
The author also stated some comparisons with other countries including Indonesia:
A few colleagues who graduated from UK choose to serve there:
"The pay is more, and we get the respect we deserve"
Another works in Brunei:
“Here the staff nurses respect Malaysian doctors, and they are very co-operative" (He ended up marrying one)
A few are consultants in Singapore (working with me):
"Here we are treated well, we spearhead the management, and every else do their work to the best of their capabilities".
A few even enjoys working in Indonesia:
“The work-load is horrible since there are a lot of patients, but we are well respected by every hospital personnel" (They have migrated there for nearly a decade)
Now I might even consider staying in Indonesia. (On a second thought, no, no. Maybe not.)
I find that Malaysia is the only country that is making doctors' lives miserable and treated like rubbish. It was never about the pay in the first place. It is about the treatment we are getting and the false political-based promises. Do you know that the so-called circular about doctors can have the day off after working 24 hours straight released JULY 2009 is not yet implemented? Do you know that the raise of UD 41 to 44 does not involve every doctor in the government service?
I did not found this surprising, knowing our country and it's full of 'janji manismu', it's likely to happen. Yet, most of the bad treatments from fellow workers such as nurses, medical assistants, and management officers made me feel sad. And if we were not bound by ethics to serve our best for patients and to save lives, would we become like them too? We can bare the hardships and exhaustion for the good pay (eventhough still lower than other countries), could we when it's not as sweet as it used to be?
Instead of doctors demands for respect, we must first give to gain. Maybe this is where the problem first started. The respect must be recovered.
See here to read the full article. Credit to Apai who linked it at Facebook.
-IMAN NAILAH 2010-