The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is extremely disappointed at the decision reached by the NACCOL (National Cost of Living Action Council) on Tuesday, 12th November, regarding the harmonisation of general practitioner (GP) fees with their hospital counterparts.
Yet again instead of making a firm decision after endless rounds of studies, stakeholders consultations, including the Cabinet, another study about the impact of the harmonisation is being requested.
Meanwhile, its clear that General Practitioners who were the bedrock of this nation’s primary health care for the last 50 years and whom had been trained by Ministry of Health is being relegated to irrelevance.
The NACCOL, which is primarily concerned about cost of living, should be taking serious measures in rental, food and transportation costs which are the basic needs of each individual, rather than the minute GP charges which have no direct impact on the cost of living due to the freely available alternative option of free government health care services.
GP services supplement the government system and is an additional option for the public, but not a compulsory choice. It’s also been explained many times in the past that the total encounter fees for the public will not rise due to free market forces as well as reduction in medication cross subsidies.
The Minister of Health is empowered by the Private Healthcare Act to gazette the harmonisation of fees. However, the current Cabinet wants to micromanage every decision at the ministry level.
MMA fails to understand the need for this merry-go-round consultations and impact studies, which is also a waste of time and taxpayers’ money.
MMA urges the Minister of Health with his Cabinet ministers to do what’s right and uphold the ideals of leaving no one behind and once and for all stop this political maneuvering.
MMA expects no less from the Minister of Health, the Pakatan government and NACCOL as further delay in this long-drawn unresolved issue would constitute a total disregard for the trust we placed in this government and make universal health care a meaningless tagline.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is the association with the largest number of doctors in the country. Formed in 1959, we currently have more than 10,000 members.
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