Friday, August 30, 2013

1Malaysia Clinics giving GPs ‘migraine’ — MMA chief

 BorneoPost Online 

KUCHING: The sprouting of 1Malaysia Clinics (K1M) across the country has posed a big challenge for private clinics.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dato Dr NKS Tharmaseelan said general practitioners (GPs) now viewed K1M as their biggest competitor.
“We propose the government sets up more 1Malaysia Clinics in rural areas, not in urban areas that already have too many clinics.
“The government (through the K1M) is now the biggest competitor to GPs. How to survive?” he asked at MMA Sarawak’s 41st annual dinner here on Saturday.
There are more than 200 K1Ms nationwide serving about 1.5 million people, and between 40 and 50 more K1M may be opened next year. The first K1M opened in 2010.
Dr Tharmaseelan also expressed his concern over the presence of too many medical colleges in the country.
He blamed it on poor coordination between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.
The country has 40 medical colleges, he said, and the result might be many unemployed doctors soon.
To solve the problem of having many doctors, he said MMA had proposed to the government to build more hospitals, turn district hospitals to training centres, accredit private hospitals as training centres, and have doctors run K1Ms – not assistant medical officers.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, who officiated at the function, said MMA suggestions would be given due consideration.
On another matter, Dr Hilmi said the country was besieged by diseases of affluence and non-communicable diseases (NCD). There are about 2.6 million adult diabetics, 5.8 million are hypertensive, 6.2 million have high cholesterol levels and 2.5 million are obese.
Besides having to grapple with these diseases, the government also need to address public concerns such as long waiting times, insufficient staff, crowded facilities and accessibility issues in the rural areas.
“About 60 per cent of doctors are in the public sector, and with other paramedics and allied health workers, they manage about 47 per cent of outpatient visits and 75 per cent of inpatient episodes.
“Illnesses treated in public facilities are more chronic and severe, while there are more senior and experienced health care providers in the private specialists sector. The ministry hopes to address the concerns of efficiency of the overall health service,” he said.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Public Health Dr Jerip Susil, Health director Datu Dr Zulkifli Jantan, Sarawak General Hospital director Dr Abdul Rahim Abdullah and MMA Sarawak branch Dr Donald Liew.
Several awards were presented during the dinner to honour outstanding doctors in Sarawak, and also to reward high-achieving medical students from Unimas.

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