Steps being taken to have more specialist doctors, says minister

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad says the cluster hospital concept has been expanded to rural district hospitals to reduce waiting time. (Youtube screengrab)

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 5,082 specialist doctors in various fields are currently serving the health ministry, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said surgeons made up the biggest number, with 300.

He said the ministry had always encouraged medical officers to undergo specialist training in order to meet the increasing demand for specialist doctors.

“The ministry also encourages medical officers to undergo training through parallel route programmes,” he said in reply to a question from Halimah Mohamed Sadique (BN-Kota Tinggi) on whether steps were being taken to raise the number of specialist doctors to reduce the long waiting time for patients.

Dzulkefly said other steps taken include reappointing retired specialist doctors on a contract basis to serve the ministry, obtaining the services of specialists from the private sector as well as encouraging Malaysian specialists residing overseas to return home and serve.

Dzulkefly said to reduce waiting time for treatment, the ministry was expanding the cluster hospital concept to rural district hospitals.

“The ministry has also adopted the ‘lean healthcare’ initiative at emergency departments of hospitals as well as in specialist clinics to help reduce the waiting time for patients and speed up the admission process,” he said, adding that doctors are also allowed to carry out elective surgeries on Saturdays.