The number of medical specialists resigning from the government hospitals has increased annually due to the public-private sector income disparity.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said 170 government medical specialists resigned last year, an increase from 158 the previous year.
"Most of those who resigned were medical specialists of Grade UD54 and above, who have a lot of experience and are highly skilled. It is a big loss for us," he said.
Although it was quite difficult for the ministry to match the salaries offered to medical specialists in the private sector, Dr Subramaniam said the government tried to narrow the gap by introducing flexible working hours as announced in the 2018 Budget.
Beginning Jan 1, medical specialists at government hospitals were given a leeway of one day a week from their official working hours to supplement their income through the three options listed by the ministry, he said.