By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Public health professionals and technicians are to face tougher job entry requirements under the new career regimes proposed by the government. But if they can reach the educational qualifications required, they will be able to enjoy a pay rise and brighter career prospects.
After presenting the draft bill of a revised career regime for doctors on Monday at the Legislative Assembly, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U continued to introduce the rest of the five new career regimes concerning medical administrative personnel, clinic technicians, senior health technicians, health inspectors and healthcare assistants to the lawmakers yesterday.
All the five draft bills passed first reading and will go through deliberation in a standing committee later on.
The new career regimes generally involve changes in the job entry requirements, salary levels, internal promotion standards and also the rank structures.
Lawmaker Fong Chi Keong criticised that amending the career regimes was not the only means to upgrade the quality of Macau’s healthcare system. He believed that the key was to enhance enthusiasm and sense of responsibility of local medical personnel.
Ng Kuok Cheong urged the government to pay attention to professional certification, pointing out that disciplinary review and elimination of inferior personnel would be particularly significant after the changes are implemented.
Cheong U responded that the government was aware of the public’s demands and had been trying to continuously improve the public health system in Macau. He said criticisms were “normal” but he believed in the efforts the medical team had dedicated over the years especially during the major epidemics.
In regard to the cumulative effects assessment on the healthcare system, professional certification and medical complaints or disputes, Cheong U said they will be regulated by a medical council which will be formed hopefully at the end of this year.
According to the draft bill concerning medical administrative personnel, posts are categorised into three ranks and each rank consists of three levels, with the salary points ranging from 570 to 755 (MOP33,630 to MOP44,545).
Yet, job candidates will be required to have a bachelor’s degree in medical management or other equivalent educational qualifications.
In order to be promoted to the next rank, a medical administrative staff member has to have two to five years of service as well as to pass a performance assessment.
Clinic technicians involve the areas of laboratory tests, pharmacy, line of sight correction and icon records. Under the new career regime, there will be five ranks and each rank will have three levels except for the top of rank 5 that has four levels, with the salary points from 430 to 735 (MOP25,370 to MOP43,365).
Existing clinic technicians who do not possess a treatment technology bachelor’s degree or fail to gain a minimum of 250 points in an assessment will remain in the current regime, but once they meet the requirements they may be able to be transferred to the new regime.
In the draft bill the senior health technician career regime involves laboratory tests, pharmacy, radiation therapy, rehabilitation therapy and nutrition.
The government proposes five ranks, and the entry-level salary will be MOP29,500 (500 salary points) while the top level will reach MOP47,200 (800 points).
Existing senior health technicians wish to enter the new career regime and also job candidates in the future will be required to possess a bachelor’s degree in nuclear radiation, kinematics or nutrition.
For internal promotion a senior health technician needs to have four or nine years of service depending on the ranks as well as a satisfactory assessment result.
Furthermore, health inspectors, who have to take care of regular inspections to ensure sanitary standards in various locations, infectious disease quarantine, tobacco prevention and control and also sanitation in communities and ports, will see their internal promotion structure expanded to six ranks and salaries increase to between MOP16,520 and MOP35,400.
To be qualified as an entry-level health inspector one needs to have completed senior high school. Yet, passing a one-year special training is also necessary including theories and practices.
In addition, it is proposed that the career regime for healthcare assistants will comprise two sub-regimes for respectively nursing assistants and general services assistants, who are both responsible to provide help to nurses and also in administration and other office work.
There will be two ranks and eight levels for nursing assistants and general services assistants will only have 10 levels in the new career regime. Their salaries range from MOP8,850 to MOP22,715.
Apart from the job entry requirements of having completed junior high school, a nursing assistant candidate needs to undertake a basic training course for no less than 200 hours.