The Health Ministry has expressed concern over the low number of medical assistants in the country, with the medical assistants to population ratio now at 1:1,466.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said if this continued, the manpower would not be able to cope with growing demand in the healthcare sector.
"We fear the situation may become more critical in the future. Although we have 22,257 medical assistants up to December last year, at a ratio of 1:1,466, our target is 1:1000," he said in his speech at the National Conference of Medical Assistance at a hotel here on Monday night.
The speech was read by Deputy Health Minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
Khairy said further discussions with the Public Service Department and Public Services Commission would be held to create additional posts to beef up and improve healthcare services.
"I was told that 4,328 graduates from the Health Ministry's training institutions are still contract workers. We will ensure these graduates get permanent positions in stages."
He said the government would review employment rules in healthcare services in line with new developments in the sector.
"This will ensure occupational projections are on the right path. This is crucial as a guide for effective planning."
In February, the government agreed to create 8,686 permanent positions for medical, dental and pharmaceutical officers from 2022 to 2025. Appointments to these positions began this month, with 3,586 medical officers, 300 dental officers and 300 pharmaceutical officers getting permanent positions.
The government also decided that at least 1,500 permanent healthcare positions would be created every year from next year to 2025. - NST