So, much has been said about the potential privatization of the National Heart Institute (IJN) and today’s news comes as a reminder that not all is lost in the Malaysian hearts.
Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi has decided to put off the bid by Sime Darby to take over IJN, most likely a result of a petition signed by all IJN’s medical consultants.
I have been highly critical of the state of things in Malaysia but there comes a time, often rare, but yet worthy of great applause and validation. The medical consultants’ petition is one of them. Read below.
19th December 2008
Statement from IJN medical consultants
We read with concern the perceived perception that the medical staff of IJN are demanding higher pay and will leave IJN if these demands are not met.
We feel it is important that these negative perceptions are correctly put into context.
The institution was set up in 1992 as a corporate body directly under the purview of Ministry of Finance. Its board of Directors include representatives from Ministry of Health and MOF to ensure its direction and objectives of providing good quality and affordable medical care to Malaysians from all walks of life are adhered to.
In that respect, IJN has done and continue to do well, both in maintaining its moral as well as financial obligations. The institution has been self-sustaining since its inception (and has been able to pay year end bonuses annually without fail). For 2007 and up to end Nov 2008, we have accumulated 285,764 number of outpatients, performed 15,084 cardiac catheterization interventions including angiograms and angioplasties, 6,094 heart and lung surgeries, 7 mechanical hearts and heart and lung transplants surgeries.
As true with any organization of our size, there will be people leaving the organization at various times in order to pursue different career paths. Over the last 7 years of operation, out of a total of 35 consultants, only 7 have left IJN to work either in local or overseas private centres. Therefore, our consultants' annual attrition rate is only 3%, and we have responded consistently over time to promote our home grown talents to fill up the voids accordingly. Currently, 75% of IJN consultants have been in their posts for more than 10 years.
All of us are salaried based on a different pay scale than that of the MOH though not at par with the private centres. Periodic review of salary scale is usually undertaken, subject to approval from Ministry of Finance.
As proven from our consultants' attrition rate and longevity in serving this institution, it is logical to surmise that on the whole we are happy with the current scheme and proving it by remaining with IJN. Many of us have served more than 10 years, excluding time spent within the MOH Hospitals prior to setting up of IJN.
Being responsible employees of IJN, we are not in the position to dictate the outcome of the privatization proposal from Sime Darby to the stakeholders of IJN. However, the perception that the privatization proposal is in response to demands for higher remunerations by its medical staff is misconceived and must be corrected accordingly to safeguard and preserve the trust placed upon us by our patients.