Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 16, 2007

Health staff to use ‘soft skills’

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:31 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Staff of the Health Ministry have been told to ‘reach out’ to their patients and be sympathetic.
Most complaints against them are dissatisfaction over treatment they receive from medical officers, nurses, medical assistants and pharmacists.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday reminded doctors to be more emphatic towards their patients and passionate in their work.
For allied health providers, the ‘soft skills’ component would be included in their training curriculum starting at the end of the year, he added.
He said there was an ongoing campaign that emphasised on, and reminded staff to have, ‘soft skills’ such as being polite, compassionate, providing service with a smile and information to patients and their families.
“About 70% of communication with the patient is clinical, so this can be quite ‘sterile’,” he said.
“They need to be sensitive because the patient demands more attention where they feel the hospital is a hostile environment.”
In an interview last week, he said that not being seen by the doctor was one of the most common complaints.
Patients often complained they had not been treated even though they were admitted. He said this was ‘wrong’ because they would have been examined before admission but this was not told to them. “So, the patient is admitted without knowing that he had been seen by the doctor,” he said.
Dr Chua said the matter was made worse when nurses did not tell the patient anything either.
A total of 1,838 complaints were lodged from Jan 1 to June 30 this year with almost 80% made against services provided by hospitals, clinics or polyclinics. About 60% were about misconduct by ministry staff and the quality of services.
The top five hospitals with the most complaints are Serdang, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Sultanah Nur Zahirah in Terengganu and Ampang.
Every year, public hospitals treat 39 million outpatients and 1.8 million warded patients.

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