I welcome the announcement by the Health Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin on the formation of the Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF), by the Ministry of Health (MOH), to investigate the death of a house officer, as well as to properly address the work culture and human resource issues in the public health sector.
However in order for the committee to be more inclusive and comprehensive I suggest that such committee to include House or Medical Officer representatives and even Medical NGOs to be in the task force to give their first hand input and even verify issues on the ground.
In my view, representatives from the Malaysian Medical Association(MMA), especially from their Section Concerning House Officers, Medical Officers and Specialists(SCHOMOS) who has been consistently fighting for the rights of young doctors must be inside this community. Representatives from Malaysian Medic International(MMI) who mainly represents young doctors and Housemans should also be allowed to offer their invaluable input in the taskforce itself.
On top of that, once the report of the task force is completed and recommendations made, I urge the Minister to also table it in the Special Parliamentary Select Committee of Health Science & Innovation to get a bi-partisan input and even bi-partisan endorsement to boost public confidence in order to better address this issue as it is of huge public importance.
It is of utmost importance that MOH acknowledges the existence of such a problem and have the necessary political will to implement a strict zero horizontal violence policy in all wotkplace to curb any toxic environment and even violence among all healthcare workers.
This will require the input and the mobilisation of all stakeholders to ensure all corners are covered and this issue is properly addressed as it does not only involve the welfare of healthcare workers, but also the quality of care to our patients.