Malaysian Health Coalition lauds formation of task force to investigate doctor’s death, calls for better work culture

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The Malaysian Health Coalition today welcomed the formation of a task force to investigate the recent death of a young doctor, who fell from the residence building of the Penang Hospital. — AFP pic
The Malaysian Health Coalition today welcomed the formation of a task force to investigate the recent death of a young doctor, who fell from the residence building of the Penang Hospital. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — The Malaysian Health Coalition today welcomed the formation of a task force to investigate the recent death of a young doctor, who fell from the residence building of the Penang Hospital.

In a statement this morning, the coalition said that health professionals must be made aware of resources available for them to seek support and that their feedback must be investigated without fear of repercussion.

“We need a positive work culture that encourages quality, learning and growth and is anti-bullying and anti-discrimination.

“While we understand that junior health professionals must work longer-than-average hours to learn skills and competence, we urge a balance that protects their well-being and mental health.

“For seniors, there are ways to teach, inspire and motivate juniors without being abusive. For senior leaders, they must take responsibility to build safe and learning workspaces, and actively address toxic workplace behaviour,” it said.

The doctor in question was confirmed to have died on April 17, just under two weeks after being posted to the Penang Hospital — on April 4 — as a houseman.

His death is currently classified as sudden death, although authorities are still investigating the case.

Penang health director Dr Ma’arof Sudin confirmed the death on May 4, a day after the incident.

The death and subsequent reports inspired calls for investigation into bullying and poor work conditions at government hospitals from various quarters, including state executive councillor for health Norlela Ariffin who said these doctors were left vulnerable to “accidents”.

On May 6, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced the formation of a task force to investigate the young doctor’s death.

It was reported in December last year that another former houseman of the Penang Hospital was found dead in his home — allegedly after committing suicide — three weeks after resigning from his job.

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