Doctors to get ‘higher’ retirement pensions

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Issue 1056, Page 2
Word count: 492
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Despite it is proposed to reduce the 24-hour on-call allowances by 15 percent for public doctors under the new career regime, the Government argued that they suffer no harm since their overall salaries will be increased and so do their retirement benefits.

The draft bill concerning the revision of the doctor career regime states that doctors who need to be called to work at anytime during a 24-hour shift should receive an additional allowance amounting to 50 percent of their salaries, a decrease from 65 percent in the existing regime.

However, this allowance is non-superannuable.

The cut in the allowance drew concerns of the lawmakers in the Third Standing Committee, which started to deliberate the draft bill yesterday.

According to president of the committee Cheang Chi Keong, the Government representatives explained in the meeting that the change was proposed in response to some doctors’ opinion.

Cheang said a number of doctors hoped that the Government could name part or the entire amount of the standby allowances as a component of their formal salaries, so that they will be able to enjoy higher retirement pensions which are calculated based on the formal salaries.

Hence, the Government decided to “transfer” 15 percent of the allowance amount and add it to the doctors’ monthly salaries. That means the doctors will keep receiving the same amount of a 24-hour on-call allowance but at the same time can foresee that their retirement lives will be even further protected.

Cheang Chi Keong said some lawmakers questioned the Government of why not including the standby allowances into the formal salary package, but the Government responded that the policy has been in place since 1992 and thus they have no intention to change it.

The Government representatives stressed that the proposal was not the final answer and they welcome more opinion and suggestions to optimise the draft bill.

In addition, the Government proposed in the meeting to revise Article 17, so that internal exams will be open at a regular interval for doctors wishing to be promoted to the higher rank.

Although some doctors associations vetoed the proposed new career regime and a lot of criticisms were heard, Cheang Chi Keong said, “to his surprise”, that the lawmakers did not raise as many questions and concerns as he originally predicted.

Health inspectors to rotate shifts

On the other hand, the Third Standing Committee also began the discussion on another draft bill for a new health inspector career regime.

Cheang Chi Keong said the Government revised the bill in the meeting by introducing a rotating shift system, “since doctors and nurses also have to rotate work shifts”.

Existing health inspectors who are already at the top level of the rank will also be required to sit for an exam in order to be transferred to the new career regime.

Cheang said the standing committee reminded the Government that the exam must be held “timely and in a transparent and open way”.

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