KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — A doctors’ group has called for doctors’ professional fees to be deregulated, after the government refused to raise private general practitioners’ (GPs) consultation fees.
The Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) said the government National Cost of Living Action Council (NACCOL) should realise that GPs’ consultation fees were already increased in 2013, but this legal amendment was mistakenly put in Schedule 13 instead of Schedule 7 of the Private Healthcare and Facilities Act (PHFSA) 1998.
“While the Schedule 13 mentions ‘fee for general practitioners in private hospitals’, in actual fact, there are no general practitioners in private hospitals. If there was a judicial review of this issue, the MPCAM is quite sure the general practitioners would come out victorious,” MPCAM president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said in a statement.
“A long-term solution to this problem would be for the Fee Schedule, in the Private Healthcare and Facilities Act (PHFSA), be removed, and the professional fees of the doctors should be determined by the profession itself just like all other professions and professional groups,” said Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah, the president of MPCAM in a statement.
“The doctors are the only professionals who have their fees regulated by an Act of Parliament.”
He also voiced his disappointment towards NACCOL for ignoring previous studies on the matter.
“While the Ministry of Health has conducted various stakeholder town hall meetings and several engagements since 2015 and others such as the stakeholders RIA in 2017, and the DOSM impact in 2019, the NACCOL headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has decided to conduct yet another ‘study’,” he said.
“After all these years of various studies including impact studies and hundreds of discussions and meetings, the intelligent members of NACCOL are asking for another study! The Government doesn’t seem to trust the impact studies done by their own departments which were presented to the NACCOL.”
NACCOL last week declined to harmonise private clinic GPs’ consultation fees with their hospital counterparts, pending further studies on its financial impact to the public.
The government committee had ordered the Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Medical Association to conduct yet another study, even though two regulatory impact analyses and three stakeholders’ engagements have already been conducted under both the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) and current Pakatan Harapan (PH) administrations.
Some 7,000 private clinic GPs throughout the country have been calling for their consultation fees to be raised from the 1992 rate of RM10 to RM35, to the scale of RM30 to RM125 earned by their counterparts in private hospitals.