The extent of Bullying experienced by junior doctors in Malaysia

Following the recent publicity whereby a junior doctor in a local hospital had to resort to making a police report as he felt threatened by a senior doctor, and the Health Minister wanting to end the “toxic work culture”, we wondered just how extensive is this problem of bullying of Junior doctors in Malaysia?

As there is a lack of data, we decided to conduct an anonymous survey amongst doctors of DOBBS ( which is the largest online community for Malaysian doctors, with about 16000 members.

The detailed results and analysis was posted in the Dobbs website – please refer to that document for the methodology, definitions and raw data.

Here is the summary of the results of the survey:

79.63% of respondents reported experiencing Bullying
Bullying severe enough to cause symptoms was experienced by 71% of respondents
Of those bullied, 16.9% felt suicidal at some point.
Work place harassment which is much more serious (and illegal in some countries though not Malaysia) was experienced by 44.6% percent of respondents.

From the survey, it seems there is an unhealthy work culture in the training of junior doctors in Malaysia. While some amount of admonishment is to be expected during the training period, it should not reach a level of bullying. Certainly workplace harassment, especially sexual harassment should not be tolerated at all and indeed should be made illegal.

What are the possible solutions? KKM should consider these points:

1) Have a grievance mechanism for junior doctors whereby they can report bullying without fear of being victimised.
2) Have a support system for counseling bullied doctors, especially if they fee suicidal. MMA already has a helpline for doctors in distress and you can call Helpdoc at 03-40411140
3) We need to lobby for legislation which outlaws workplace harassment and in particular sexual harassment.