Trainee doctors will now get a day off after carrying out their 24-hour on-call duty.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the directive will take effect immediately.
He said it applies only to housemen on active call and at the hospital the entire time.
“We will not let these trainee doctors be overworked. We will look into their welfare,” he told reporters yesterday after visiting the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital.
Liow was asked to comment on grouses from trainee doctors that they sometimes had to work almost 24 hours and then report to their superiors the next day.
Some trainee doctors complained that they had to work seven days a week without a single rest day during their two-year stint in government hospitals as housemen.
Liow said trainee doctors should also be allowed to concentrate on getting the right exposure and medical proficiency by giving them off-days.
A trainee doctor at Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, who only wanted to be known as Sally, said she was relieved to hear that the ministry would look into their welfare.
“Frankly, we are very exhausted as we have to focus on our training and also carry out clinical rounds frequently,” she said. “It is stressful.”
Sally said she and her colleagues were unable to pay attention during their stints due to fatigue and time constraints.
On another matter, Liow said about 4,000 Chikungunya cases were reported throughout the country this year.
He said the virus was first detected in Johor and spread to several states, the latest being Kedah.
The Star 18.12.08