Saturday, November 14, 2009

Allowance reduction unfair to pharmacists

IT is really disheartening to learn that pharmacists working in government hospitals will have their monthly critical allowance reduced by RM650, leaving only a small sum of RM100 if the Ministry of Health introduces this ruling soon.

If they have this intention, I do not understand why the reduction of the allowance applies only to government pharmacists and not other government servants as well. Doctors and nurses are said to be unaffected.

Can someone from the Health Ministry explain the logic behind this cost-cutting exercise?

On one hand, the prime minister has reduced income tax by 1% for the higher income group in the 10th Malaysian Budget but on the other hand the Government tries to collect back the money from a small population of government pharmacists.

This is unfair treatment and does not serve any purpose.

At the moment, graduate pharmacists have to be trained in government hospitals for one year and forced to work for another three years before they can opt for greener pastures outside. Their salary is already low when compared with the private sector.

Pharmacists are also subjected to on-call and overtime work like doctors, but they are not allowed to claim on-call allowances like doctors.

Pharmacists need their own transport to go to work in the wee hours of the night when they are on-call. The critical allowance is just enough for them to foot the car maintenance and petrol bill.

Also, critical allowance is crucial as they are among critical front-liners exposing them­selves to health hazards and risks when dispensing drugs to patients at the counters.

Then what about the cytotoxic department? Every day, pharmacists enter the clean room and expose themselves to the aerosol of cancer drugs (a single drop of cytotoxic drug can cause necrosis or mutation).

In the methadone department, pharmacists are also at risk. They have to park their cars far away from the department to avoid their cars being vandalised. There are threat cases as well when pharmacists meet the addicts outside.

Every day, pharmacists have to go in and out of wards to counsel patients with infectious diseases, not to mention the current H1N1 pandemic with many pharmacists reportedly suspected of being infected.

The RM750 critical allowance seems insignificant and insufficient when personal safety and health are in jeopardy.

The above are just the tip of the iceberg. I urge the Ministry Of Health to reconsider the allowance reduction.

Kuala Lumpur.

owner : whole-hearted agree with this..