Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The federal government is urged to give permanent positions to health care workers who are willing to work in rural areas of the country.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said  doing so would address the need for health care staff and specialist doctors in rural areas, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

“That is why I urge the Ministry of Health to properly resolve this contract situation of healthcare workers. All they want is a fairer deal including giving them an opportunity to apply for specialisation,” he said.

Dr Yii was responding on a written reply by the Health Ministry for a question he raised in Parliament on the contract of health care workers.

“The government did not give any clear assurance or even steps to resolve the temporary contract issue among health care workers.

“More importantly, they did not clarify the core issue which is the selection criteria for health care workers to be granted ‘permanent posting’.

“I reiterate my earlier call for the whole selection to be more transparent so that there is not only greater certainty in selection but any perception of favouritism, bias, or even discrimination in selection will be removed,” he said in a Facebook post on Thursday (July 23).

Dr Yii said presently young health care workers were offered  temporary contracts to complete their compulsory training and service.

“After housemanship (HO) and the necessary training, they should be encouraged to serve in the rural areas, and this should be taken as a consideration for their services to be extended and for them to be offered  permanent postings after their compulsory service is over.

“This helps kills two birds with one stone as you give more certainty in the selection and also address the need in the rural areas,” he said.

The MP said rural interiors were in dire need of healthcare workers and that the problem persisted not only in Sarawak, but in many places across the country.

“People living in the rural areas also have a right to quality care and proper access to healthcare services and this must be properly addressed,” he said.