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Names of 'bully doctors' in Penang submitted to ministry amid probe into alleged bullying culture in hospitals

Names of 'bully doctors' in Penang submitted to ministry amid probe into alleged bullying culture in hospitals

Penang General Hospital in George Town, Penang. (Photo: Penang Health Department's official website).

GEORGE TOWN: The names of five doctors who were alleged to be bullies at the Penang General Hospital have been sent to the Health Ministry for further action, said Penang state executive councillor Norlela Ariffin.

“I have submitted their names and their respective departments for further action by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin," said Dr Norlela as quoted by Bernama.

However, Dr Norlela, who is in-charge of health matters in the state government, said that these doctors are not related to the case of a Penang General Hospital houseman who died after falling from his residential unit in a nearby building on Apr 17.

The Penang Health Department had earlier confirmed that the houseman was a graduate medical officer who had reported for work at the hospital on Apr 4. 

Penang district police had said that the doctor’s death was being investigated as sudden death, and they would not rule out reclassifying the case if new evidence was found, reported Bernama. 

New Straits Times reported that this is the second death involving a houseman attached to the Penang Hospital in less than two years.

The houseman’s death has drawn attention to the alleged workplace bullying in public hospitals in Malaysia, with medical officers coming forward to describe their experiences.  

Mr Khairy said on Twitter Last Friday that the ministry would set up an independent task force to probe the houseman’s death as well as claims of the prevalence of a bullying culture within its health departments.

“I have received an initial report on the death of a houseman from the deceased’s head of department in Penang. Police are also conducting an investigation,” he wrote. 


The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said on Tuesday that it has received 36 complaints of bullying cases through its HelpDoc line since the line was opened in 2017. 

The bullying cases were among more than 120 complaints that the line had received so far. 

Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, MMA president Koh Kar Chai said HelpDoc serves as a platform to provide assistance to doctors in reporting bullying cases without the fear of being reproached.

The platform also meant to encourage those in the medical field to use the complaint line fearlessly, said Dr Koh as quoted by Bernama.

He added that it was also in recognition of the fact that bullying cases may never be reported for fear of being singled out for further punishment.

“HelpDoc is meant for doctors who have trouble at work and they need not be afraid since any reports lodged are taken offline and we will do a follow-up with the doctor involved to solve the case,” said Dr Koh.

He said stress sources such as harsh words and juniors who repeatedly make mistakes or do something which have the potential to cause harm to patients may be among the contributing factors to “bullying”. 

The Health Ministry needs to look into all contributing factors in addressing the issues faced by housemen in their training and also the welfare of doctors in the public healthcare system, he added, according to Bernama.

Source: AGENCIES/ih(tx)


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