Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 27, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:13 am

Docs: CCTVs no help during robberies

The safety of patients and staff is more important than security mechanisms, said doctors who are not in favour of opening their clinics round the clock.

Dr Koh Geok Leong said that CCTVs could not help in stopping robberies. “What’s the use of fixing CCTV when robbers can ask you to climb up to remove the recorder and your life is probably at stake?” he asked.

Dr Koh, whose 24-hour-clinic in USJ, Subang Jaya, was robbed on two occasions two to three years ago, stopped operating after midnight since January this year.

“The nurses are scared to work at such hours and the risk of falling prey to criminals is much higher after midnight,” he said.

“We tried installing a peephole through which staff could ‘check out’ patients before letting them in but it did not work.”

Echoing his views was a doctor in Bangsar who shortened his operating hours after an attempted robbery.

“Our clinic used to run 24 hours but two months ago we cut down on the operating hours because the security guard quit and our staff felt it was not safe. CCTV will not help because even banks get robbed,” said the doctor, who did not want to be named.

The clinic, which opened some 18 years ago, is currently operating from 7am to llpm to minimise the risk of getting robbed.

“We learnt from the experience of other clinics and try to prevent it from happening here,” he said.

However, a clinic manager at Jalan Pudu said that her clinic continues to operate 24 hours daily, as they did not want to disappoint those who came for treatment. “We have not faced any problems so far,” she said.

Criminals, who are only slightly deterred by safety measures taken by clinics, also target those operating normal hours, said Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Datuk Dr N. Arumugam.

“It is widespread at clinics located in Damansara, Petaling Jaya or Klang. Sometimes, the incidents happen at clinics which close at 10pm or midnight.”

Bernama had reported Dr Arumugam as saying on Saturday that 30% of 2,000 licensed 24-hour clinics in the Klang Valley were closing at midnight for fear of being robbed.

When asked to comment on a media report last week that the Internal Security Ministry was prepared to study the possibility of setting a special force to curb robberies at 24-hour clinics, Dr Arumugam said that while MMA welcomed the move, details would have to be worked out. He also said that installing CCTVs or employing private security firms was too expensive.

“If someone takes out a knife and points it at a doctor or nurse, how would they react? We welcome the idea but we need to know what help they can give to combat criminals,” he said.

He added that more 24-hour clinics were closing by midnight because it was getting increasingly difficult to get staff who were willing to work late hours.

“Females make up about 90% of clinic staff and it is getting more difficult to get staff to work,” he said.

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