Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 27, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:49 pm

Chua disappointed by lack of response

KUALA LUMPUR: Only one private doctor has taken up the RM40 an hour part-time job in government hospitals and clinics since the offer was opened a month ago.

In expressing disappointment over the poor response, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) should take up the challenge.

“It is ironic that some private doctors had even pledged to volunteer their services free of charge earlier.

“Some even accused the ministry of not opening to private doctors and I don’t want to hear any more accusations and excuses from now on.

“I hope private doctors will respond to this part-time scheme as a form of social service and a chance to gain more clinical experience.

“The ball is now at the MMA’s feet,” he told The Star here yesterday.

There are about 8,000 doctors and specialists in the government sector and almost the same number in the private sector.

The ministry is trying to rope in private doctors to help the government health sector which treats some 75% of the total number of patients in the country.

In a year, government doctors treat about 48 million people who seek outpatient treatment while another 1.7 million are warded.

Dr Chua said the Treasury had approved the RM40 new rate while government doctors who did part-time in government clinics after office hours would be paid RM30 an hour.

“Some complained that RM30 is too low. We raised it to RM40 but the response from the private doctors is pathetic,” he lamented.

Dr Chua said the flexi-hours under this part-time scheme should be attractive, particularly to female doctors who needed to juggle between family commitments and career and pensioners who wanted to earn some extra money.

He said private doctors could work a maximum of eight hours a day and it was up to 10 hours a week for private specialists.

Those interested could apply through their respective state health departments, he added.

Prior to this, the government’s part-time scheme for private doctors at RM25 an hour only saw seven takers since its implementation in 2002.

Response from private specialists for the RM120 an hour for those in surgical disciplines and RM100 an hour for the non-surgical ones in government hospitals was equally pathetic.

“Only 19 private specialists signed up for a two-year contract beginning last year so far,” Dr Chua said.

The 19 include one in Selayang Hospital, three in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, seven in Johor and eight in East Malaysia.

On the bad response to the part-time scheme, a private medical specialist said there were other deciding factors besides the payment.

He cited the “not-so-conducive setting” in government hospitals and clinics as among the deterrents.

He said some authorities in government hospitals were somehow “ hostile” towards private specialists.

He acknowledged that working in government hospitals would be beneficial for one’s experience, as there were more complicated cases compared with the private sector.

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