PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry (MOH) today set up an independent body, named the Healthcare Work Culture Improvement Task Force (HWCITF), following claims of bullying and mental stress among health workers, including graduate medical officers (PPS).

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pix), in a statement today, said former secretary-general of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry Prof Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir will lead the task force that also comprises seven other professionals and experts.

The setting up of the task force comes on the heels of a Penang Hospital houseman’s death recently, in addition to complaints of bullying and mental stress faced not only by medical officers but also health service workers in general.

Khairy said the scope and terms of the special task force covered aspects of work culture as well as human resource management of health staff to ensure the delivery of quality and professional services.

The task force will be tasked with analysing and evaluating work culture, human resource management of health service staff, graduate medical officers in particular, he added.

He said the team would also analyse information obtained and results of the investigation into the death of the houseman who was found dead after he was believed to have fallen from his residential unit in a building near the Penang Hospital.

HWCITF will also propose the appointment of relevant consultants to the MOH for the purpose of supporting the task force’s functions and roles if needed as well as to conduct relevant research and analysis, Khairy added.

“HWCITF will also prepare evaluation reports as well as recommendations to improve work culture and human resource management of health service staff, in general and PPS specifically to be presented to me within two months from the date of its establishment,” he said.

In addition to Dr Siti Hamisah, the task force is membered by Datuk Hamidah Naziadin who has extensive experience in the field of human resources spanning over 31 years, pediatrician Prof Dr Zabidi A.M. Hussin, consultant psychiatrist Associate Prof Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin, and International Medical University (IMU) chief executive officer Dr Chong Su Lin.

Also in the task force are lawyer Mohamed Redza Mohamed Abdulla, activist and World Health Organisation representative Manvir Victor and B. Sivaramakrishnan, whose expertise is in the field of organisational design and work as well as representatives from the Public Services Department.

“The MOH is committed to improving the working environment of health service staff in general. A conducive and harmonious work environment starts with respecting, supporting and helping colleagues,” Khairy said. — Bernama