The Need For Health Care Privatisation Is Now Or Never — Government Specialist

A govt specialist, whose father did elective surgery in a govt hospital, says many surgeons or consultants in govt hospitals do locum during office hours. The specialist urges the privatisation of govt hospitals, citing successful examples like UMMC/ HCTM.

I’m a specialist working in a government hospital in Selangor. 

I brought my relatively healthy father for elective surgery in the biggest tertiary hospital in Malaysia, hoping that a surgeon would do the surgery and be involved in the management. 

Fast forward four months later, my father has been in and out of hospital. Every time he is admitted, it’s very difficult to get hold of the same surgeon. 

Most surgeons or consultants in government hospitals concentrate on locum during office hours and are rarely seen around the hospital, leaving medical officers (MOs) and registrars in charge of surgery and patient care. 

This holds true for all specialties involving surgery, i.e. general surgery and subspecialties, orthopaedic, urology, etc. 

Consultants in the public health service are rarely seen around the hospital. Even if they do come, they only see specific patients very early in the morning and then go to a private centre for the rest of the day. 

Mind you, these consultants are ranked Jusa C and above, given cars, and multiple allowances from the government, but yet they serve the private sector. 

I have even seen some of them leaving the hospital with cars provided by the government as early as 8am during weekdays. 

I don’t blame them because what the government is paying them is five times below the salary offered by the private sector. 

In the time my father was admitted, at least three surgeons have gone to the private sector in the span of four months. 

How are we going to survive in the long run with manpower draining at this rate? 

The Ministry of Health (MOH) should come up with drastic measures to ensure specialists can be retained in government to serve the people. 

Measures to support privatisation of government hospitals should be undertaken to ensure efficiency of the health care system before it collapses soon. 

A good example of how privatisation helps to ensure good quality services is how Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) or Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HCTM) were able to operate with great efficiency after privatisation. 

With many medical officers and specialists moving to private practice or emigrating overseas in a short span of time, are we going to hire foreign doctors to treat local patients, like what is happening to nursing services in the private sector?

CodeBlue is providing the author anonymity because civil servants are prohibited from writing to the press.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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