KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 – Private general practitioners (GPs) are facing difficulties seeing their regular patients and taking over non-coronavirus patients from government clinics, a doctors’ group said.
The Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) said patients with acute conditions were reluctant to visit their regular GP clinics because they feared an inability to pass police checkpoints without a letter from a hospital.
“Hence patients are going to the nearest available clinic, instead of their regular general practitioners who have their medical records,” MPCAM president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said in a statement.
He said private GPs, who are also offering Covid-19 screening services where positive cases will be referred to government hospitals, have patients with other urgent conditions who need medical consultation and examination.
“Patients from government facilities, who are financially not well off, find it difficult to visit the GP as most of them are not covered by insurance and depend on out-of-pocket expenditure in order to get treatment and medication,” Dr Raj Kumar added.
He said MPCAM is in contact with vendors offering telemedicine services, so that GPs can reach out to their non-coronavirus patients who need consultation, treatment and medication.
“We are linking up to provide this platform so patients can still see their doctors as long as they have a smartphone.
“The MPCAM has been in touch with vendors such as Premier Medicare, Doc2Us, DoctorOnCall, Queuemed, Encoremed and also the Singapore based Doctor Anywhere,” Dr Raj Kumar said.
The health and defence ministers said recently that police discretion may allow patients to travel beyond 10km from their homes, under the Movement Control Order (MCO), to see their regular doctors. A cancer group previously complained about four cancer patients who were turned around at police roadblocks in the Klang Valley, Melaka, and the East Coast earlier this month.
The government said it would decide tomorrow on whether to extend the MCO beyond April 14, amid the Covid-19 epidemic that has infected over 4,100 people in Malaysia and killed 65. Medical experts have called for the nationwide lockdown to continue into the Hari Raya season, fearing a coronavirus spread to elderly citizens in people’s hometowns outside the Klang Valley.