KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) recommends outsourcing non-emergency patients to private clinics as a sustainable mid to long-term strategy, over extending operating hours of government health clinics which only offers short-term relief.
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai, in a statement today, said that while the MMA acknowledges the extension of operating hours at 52 government health clinics as an immediate and interim solution to alleviate congestion at public health care facilities, it stresses that adequate staffing is crucial to prevent overworking.
“Sufficient doctors, nurses and support staff will be crucial to its success,” Dr Muruga said.
Among the solutions proposed by the MMA are the outsourcing of Green Zone cases in public health facilities to private GP clinics which the government has planned for under its Skim Perubatan Madani.
“The MMA hopes there will be an update on this soon from the Ministry of Health (MOH),” Dr Muruga said.
The MMA has long advocated for the involvement of private general practitioners (GPs) in strengthening primary health care in the country. Private GPs are instrumental in managing the health of the population and should be integrated into government health care policies, Dr Muruga said.
According to the MMA, the extension of operating hours at government health clinics presents an opportunity for doctors who are no longer part of the public health care system to return and earn income. This includes ex-contract doctors who were not offered permanent positions or who left for other reasons.
Private GPs who typically close their clinics early could also benefit from the extended operating hours at government health clinics by serving patients and earning additional income.
The MMA further highlighted the presence of approximately 4,000 new private clinics in the country, with some being established and managed by young doctors who previously worked as contract doctors in the public health care system.
At a press conference yesterday, however, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa did not state how much the government is offering private GPs to locum at public health clinics.