Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the country's premier organisation representing doctors, lauds the Government's move in setting up 1Malaysia clinics for the urban poor, saying it is in line with the caring concept.
Its President, Dr David K L Quek, said while the MMA supported better, affordable and more accessible healthcare facilities for the public, the announcement that the 1Malaysia clinics were manned by medical assistants and nurses took many doctors by surprise.
Writing in his President's Column in the latest MMA bulletin, he said initially his personal opinion was that just 50 clinics around the country would have very little impact on any doctor's rice bowl but he was wrong as the Government's move had caused much anxiety and confusion among general practitioners.
"I have received, literally, hundreds of angry and condemning SMSs, and faxes and email demanding that the MMA address the issue which they felt had unfairly impacted their services. Almost every doctor who had complained believed this approach of using clinics to be run by medical assistants and nurses was wrong in law," he said.
He emphasised that the MMA strongly felt that all the 1Malaysia clinics should be manned by doctors, in line with the Medical Act, which dictates that all medical and health clinics be run only by registered doctors.
So far, the Government has set up 50 1Malaysia clinics in the urban areas to provide basic services like treating minor ailments and monitoring of diabetes and hypertension.
These clinics are manned by hospital assistants and nurses and periodically supervised by doctors.
Latest field reports indicate that these clinics are well received by the people and are becoming popular.
On the shortage of doctors, Dr Quek said the MMA believed that there was no real shortage but just a "misdistribution of resources".
He said the MMA understood that logistical problems resulting from the reluctance of doctors to be relocated to a more rural or remote location despite improved perks remained a challenge for the Ministry of Health.
Nevertheless, he added, it believed that a proper and fair deployment policy should be initiated to overcome the problem.
He said if the 1Malaysia clinics were now part of the expanded public healthcare system, then the MMA believed that even more public sector doctors would be willing to be deployed on rotation or as part of a training initiative for an enhanced family practice or general practice vocation.- Bernama
1M'sia Clinics should be manned by docs: MMA | Daily Express Newspaper Online, Sabah, Malaysia.