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Yes, we want ‘tough’ doctors but not through bullying, says DG

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 14/5/2022 Faisal Asyraf
Hisham Abdullah wearing a suit and tie: Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the health ministry will also improve the reporting system on bullying cases to ensure whistleblowers are protected. © Provided by Free Malaysia Today Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the health ministry will also improve the reporting system on bullying cases to ensure whistleblowers are protected.

SUNGAI BULOH: Junior doctors need to be resilient when undergoing training but there is no excuse for bullying by their seniors, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

He added that claims that the alleged bullying was supposedly done with the aim of making these junior doctors tough were unacceptable.

“We are aware that in training to become a doctor, one needs determination and has to be resilient throughout the two-year houseman period. But the way we train them should not involve any bullying or harassment.

“We cannot accept harassment, sexual exploitation, or abuse,” he told reporters after launching a Covid-19 art exhibition at Sungai Buloh Hospital today.

While acknowledging that the bullying culture happens everywhere, Noor Hisham stressed such a thing must be eradicated in hospitals as soon as possible.

Therefore, he added, the ministry would provide its full commitment to the independent Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF) to come out with guidelines and steps to eliminate the bullying culture.

He said this would definitely include steps to improve the whistleblowing system within the ministry.

“The system is already there but we want to enhance it. Among them are ways to lodge reports so that the whistleblowers are protected,” he said.

Yesterday, the ministry announced the formation of the HWCITF to look into bullying issues as well as the death of a houseman at Penang Hospital last month.

The task force would be chaired by UCSI university vice-chancellor Siti Hamisah Tapsir with eight other experts completing the team.

On May 11, the Penang state health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin was reported to have submitted to the health ministry the names of five Penang Hospital doctors who had allegedly bullied junior doctors.

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