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Govt doctors must be thankful to public

The letter Gov't ill-treating its doctors refers.

The government has done a lot for doctors to allow them serve the people with dedication. Let not the grievances of a few doctors in the government service dishearten the others into leaving the service.

The more the doctors complain about their pay and service, the less confidence people will have in them and government hospitals. Doctors must remember that they are not alone in the so-called 'critical' professions. Others like lawyers, engineers, teachers and nurses are equally critical for the country to prosper.

It is the demand-supply factor that is now causing to a lot of complaints from some government doctors.

If money is the sole criteria in one's ambition in life, then there is not going to be a ceiling for satisfaction. I would say doctors are among the best-paid government servants in the country as compared to many other professions in the government service.

The government owes a duty to the people, especially the poor, to take care of their health and to many Malaysians, the only means of access to cheap medical treatment are the government hospitals.

If doctors feel that they are underpaid for the hard work they are facing, then they should have thought about this before joining this profession. Sometimes glamour does not go along with money and easy life.

In fact, no profession is going to be an easy life if one wants to be patriotic and serve the people who have given the professionals so much to be what they are now in society.

Doctors owe a lot to the government and the country and they are supposed to serve the people for the opportunity and financial support allowed to them to study medicine. They receive good pay and additional income in the form of allowances.

Many are given opportunities to further their studies, attend courses locally and overseas and are given promotions, bonuses and gratuities before they are pensioned off. All this comes from the taxpayers.

In the government, many doctors are just holding administrative posts and are not attending to patients but they are paid really high wages, unlike private hospitals where managers are non-doctors.

Many government doctors even take leave to do locum at private hospitals and clinics to earn money. Some are part-time lecturers and here too, they earn extra money.

Why then can't a sense of duty and patriotism come to their minds and spur them on in serving the people who have given them the opportunities to be what they are now with the least of complaints?

Not only doctors but many other government servants such as lawyers, accountants, lecturers and architects have left the government service to be in the private sector. They have their reasons for doing so and if doctors are unhappy with the government, no one can stop them from leaving but, of course, after they have served the government.

There is still democracy in this country and we respect a person's right to be where he feels best suits him without tarnishing the government. The government has a bigger responsibility to shoulder in the interest of the majority.

The time will come soon when the private sector itself would be saturated with doctors. And at the rate the government is planning for many to take up medicine, the problem of doctor shortage will soon be a matter of the past.

When this happens, is it then justified to pay doctors a very much higher salary than other government servants? Many countries have come to this stage of optimisation in the medical workforce and doctoring is treated just like any other profession in society.