Rejecting Penang DCM’s criticism, MMA says has long crusaded against bullying in healthcare
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said it has been fighting against bullying within the national healthcare system for years, after a politician accused the group of inaction.
Earlier today, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy accused the MMA of failing to adequately address bullying among trainee doctors at government hospitals, a phenomenon blamed for the recent death of a houseman in the state.
MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai said the organisation did not condone bullying in any form, but believed the incidents must be properly defined in order for perpetrators to be punished effectively.
“All cases of bullying need to be reported for action to be taken. Though there has been much that has been mentioned on social media, only a handful has actually been reported which does not mean that there are only a few cases.
“It may be the tip of an iceberg and this is indeed cause for worry and concern. Those affected by bullying must also not remain silent,” he said in a statement.
Dr Koh added that the MMA set up a helpline dubbed “HelpDoc” back in 2016 to accommodate medical practitioners who were uncomfortable using normal channels to report malpractice.
“So, it is unfair to label MMA as not being aware of the current situation. In fact, MMA had the foresight to initiate actions on this.
“MMA has never played down the issue of bullying, hence the call was made to end the culture of fear within the MOH,” he added.
Earlier, Ramasamy called Dr Koh out of touch with reality with regards to trainees being bullied by senior practitioners.
He said Dr Koh appeared to agree with bullying and that certain kinds of harsh treatment of housemen were unavoidable because of the pressure senior doctors faced while on duty.
Yesterday, Dr Koh stressed that bullying in healthcare settings must be clearly defined to prevent it from encompassing the harsh delivery of work instructions under high pressure situations.
The houseman, who started working at the Penang Hospital on April 4 this year, fell to his death from a high-rise building on April 17.
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