Dear YB Health Minister,
On behalf of the Neurosurgical Association of Malaysia (NAM), I would like to thank our health minister, YB Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad on the bold announcement that he made for the government to stop regulating private doctors’ and dentists’ consultation fees, hence allowing free market but more than that, allowing consumers to have more power in choosing their doctors.
This is also a very important step in recognising the contribution of the general practitioners (GPs) and dentists in providing health care to the Malaysian public and realising their plight, especially since there has been no increase in their consultation fees for the last 27 years.
I am sure all the doctors in Malaysia thank him for his trust and I am sure this trust would not be betrayed.
This is a very important step as there has not been any amendment since the Seventh Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities (Private Medical Clinics and Private Dental Clinics) Regulation 2006 and GP fees have stayed stagnant for the last 27 years since 1992, where they have been forced to charge as low as RM10 for each consultation.
Under the 13th schedule in 2013, consultation fees for specialist and medical officers in the private hospitals were increased. However, the GPs and dentists were overlooked, hence this move was long overdue. The public perception of all GPs making a lot of money is no longer true and there are many GPs in Malaysia finding it difficult to make ends meet and closing down clinics one by one.
Many people do not really realise that the GPs are the ones who really control the key to the health “gateway” and are the backbone of our health care system. Their role in patient management in Malaysian health care is definitely very relevant and important.
Here, I would like to personally congratulate and thank the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM), Persatuan Doktor Doktor Islam Malaysia (PERDIM) and Federation of Private Medical Association of Malaysia (FPMPAM) and all other groups who have continuously championed the cause of the GPs in Malaysia.
I am sure that the GPs and dentists in Malaysia are all responsible individuals who will be reasonable in their consultation charges moving forwards.
Dr Kantha Rasalingam is president of the Neurosurgical Association of Malaysia and president elect of the ASEAN Congress of Neurosurgery.
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