Letters to the Editor
The MO Committee applauds the Ministry of Healths efforts to make the posting exercise for non-trainee MOs more transparent with changes which encourage MOs to play a proactive role in securing their postings. The majority of feedback that we have received from our fellow MOs thus far is that in principle, it is an improvement from the noachian system we are so accustomed to. Firstly, it places the onus on the MOs to exercise their choices wisely and makes it more rewarding for the MOs to put up a credible work performance in order to earn a good reputation for themselves. It also provides feedback on the departments and their management of MOs, perhaps provoking some soul searching.
However, as with all changes in policies, there are the inevitable shortcomings in practice that can only be improved with constructive suggestions. We have collected initial feedback from a few MOs which are summarised as follows:
1. There is a fear that certain departments might choose only MOs who have prior experience in the same discipline, eg. anaesthesia, surgery; thus discriminating against those who are keen but have no previous exposure. In this respect, a commitment by such departments or the Ministry to ensure that in every cohort of new MOs, provisions are made for such candidates would be appreciated so that the training of MOs would be more broad-based.
2. Too many MOs may request to remain in the same department hence depriving others a chance the experience of working in the department. This is especially true for small departments that have vacancies for only 2 or 3 non trainees.
3. There is also a fear and resentment that the current system invites too much favour currying and string pulling. Evidence of this included last minute changes made to the posting list, with some names added or taken off the list at late notice, which was not reflected in the final printed version of the list, and without the knowledge of some of those concerned.
4. There was support for the suggestion that those unable to obtain any of their choices be given another chance from the remaining departments with vacancies. These could be carried out during the balloting day or via another exercise.
5. There were unhappiness over what has been construed as backdoor negotiations after the list has been issued. It was suggested that all final discussion be carried out at the balloting session.
6. Adequate notice should be given to MOs and their departments regarding the balloting session. For the November 1997 exercise, unsuccessful applicants were given only one day or less notice which was conveyed through their current departments. The information either did not reach the MOs concerned in time, or accommodation could not be made at short notice to allow them to attend the session.
However, in order to reflect your true feelings on the subject, we need your feedback on whether you share the same sentiments or there are other concerns which you would like to share. If adequate response is received, the MO committee will collate and channel them to the Ministry of Health. We urge you to take a proactive role in ensuring a fairer system for yourself. Write to us either via the e-mail at email@example.com, snail mail or to your MO committee members.
Remember if you do not try to improve your future, no one will!
DR LIM YEOW WAI,
DR CHEN LISA,
DR ERIC CHIAM,
DR FOO CHUAN KIT,
DR GOH JIN HIAN,
DR HO KOK YUEN,
DR LIM JUI,
DR TAN SZE WEE,
DR WONG TIEN YIN,
DR YEO YEW SAN, IAN,
DR YUE WAI MUN