Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 20, 2007

Health Ministry D-G tells docs to stop flirting with dubious practices

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:30 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Stop questionable medical practices, be more human and constantly update your knowledge.
These were among the reminders Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican issued to the medical profession yesterday.
He said there were some doctors who indulged in direct selling of non-evidence based treatment that could mar the profession.
“You do not have to go around and do any kind of business other than that of healing,” he said.
Dr Ismail said it was disappointing that some doctors flirted with unproven methods and used their professional status to carry out the activities.
He added that there were reports that some doctors even displayed such products in their waiting areas or at the front portion of their clinics.
Dr Ismail said that while doctors could recommend supplements, they should not promote certain brands at their clinics.
“The surreptitious recommendation of products of doubtful pharmaceutical benefits to trusting patients must stop,” he said.
He also noted that doctors today were increasingly being perceived as cold and impersonal, even “machine-like” in dealing with patients.
“Having new technology does not help. New doctors depend more on the machines than their clinical acumen,” he added.
“The machine remains a machine. We are humans and we have attributes that help us make intelligent diagnosis. The over-reliance on new technology can be our undoing.”
Dr Ismail also said that doctors must “listen well” to their patients, who had a right to access their healthcare records and to a second opinion.
“Remember, before patients pour their hearts out to you, they must be assured that you have a heart in the first place, to listen and understand their apprehensions. Your non-verbal message is as important as your verbal message,” he said.
He said that doctors also needed to keep in touch with current clinical developments as many patients nowadays were “armed” with information from the Internet or from previous consultations, adding that such information had now become a necessity rather than a luxury.
Dr Ismail said that, alternatively, doctors should not be trapped into doing what the patient wants or demands.
The medical profession, he said, needed self-regulation, and the Malaysian Medical Association should educate its members about updating clinical knowledge, continuous professional development and maintaining strict practice standards, and emphasise the need to work ethically.

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