Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 4, 2007

Chua: Uncaring docs can go

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 12:03 pm

Star: PORT DICKSON: Doctors who refuse to attend to patients when they are on-call should just resign.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said that although there was a shortage of doctors, the ministry did not need the services of unprofessional medical personnel.
“You cannot possibly treat your patients over the phone. You must be physically present,” he said.
Dr Chua said he had received complaints of doctors, including specialists, who failed to turn up at hospitals particularly during the nights although they were rostered to do so.
“I know it can be difficult to rush back to the hospital once you have had dinner and are at home with family members. But you know what is required of a doctor,” he said.
Citing an example, he said the specialist on call to treat the month-old Lai Yok Shan at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang had failed to turn up to attend to her, causing her condition to deteriorate.
Her blackened arm, caused by an earlier mistake by medical staff, had to be eventually removed.
Dr Chua said he understood that doctors were burdened with more work due to the increasing number of patients at government hospitals but this was no excuse for failing to be present when needed.
“I told the director-general (Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican) about this and he had had a meeting with the specialists. They were told that disciplinary action would be taken against them if there were such complaints,” he said.
Dr Chua said he had also received complaints from junior doctors that they were chided for calling the specialists for assistance at night.
“Sometimes, if the case was not serious, the specialists would scold the doctors doing their housemanship for disturbing them. That is not right,” he said.
Asked whether it was true that some doctors who were on call failed to turn up as they were working as locums elsewhere, Dr Chua said this was not true.
“That I can confirm. I know they don’t indulge in such things,” he told reporters after visiting the Port Dickson Hospital.
In his speech earlier, he said the Government had set up a Health Promotions Board to advise Malaysians on the need to look after their health.
The board, to be headed by Toh Puan Aishah Ong, would have representatives from NGOs and medical experts.
“Many Malaysians are not health conscious. If something is not done now, we’ll have many more with health problems,” he said, adding that the percentage of Malaysians in the obese group had doubled from 20% in the last 10 years.

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