Dentists: Limited Vancancies for Training

There are not enough vacancies for dentists to fill in public hospitals.

Health Ministry (MOH) director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said they were aware and concerned about the plight of dentistry degree holders who faced delays in getting training placements. 

He said one of the measures taken to address the problem was ending the services of non-Malaysian dental officers or those who had been re-hired after retirement to make way for new graduates.

There is a moratorium on increasing new intakes, effective from 2013 to 2018, which also limits the number of local students to 800 a year.

Dr Noor Hisham said new positions for dental officers had been created in phases.

“This year, a total of 391 new posts in grade U41 and 300 contract positions are being created to facilitate the placement for local dental graduates who had not been appointed."

Dr Noor Hisham said discussions were being held with all stakeholders, including the private sector, to resolve the issue of placement of dental officers.

Under the Dental Act, graduates need to complete a mandatory one-year service in the public sector, which may be in MOH, the Higher Education Ministry or the Ministry of Defence, with the majority or 95% completing their service in MOH.

However, Dr Noor Hisham pointed out that 99% of positions for dental officers in MOH were filled and the situation was made worse due to low attrition of 8% in 2015.

Last year, 980 graduates registered with the Malaysian Dental Council. Of these, 504 got placements in MOH but 476 had been waiting between six and nine months, and are still waiting because there are only 87 vacancies.

Dr Noor Hisham said overseas dental graduates, who had almost doubled in recent years, were among the main contributors to the overall increase. There were 245 in 2013 compared to 482 last year.

But he said this increase did not mean there was a glut in the profession. Dr Noor Hisham said the ratio of dental practitioners to the current population of 1:3000 would only be reached in 2018.

He said the construction and development of facilities at MOH would be reviewed to cut short delays for getting placements.

/theSTAR 07-03-2016

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