MMA hits out at ‘indecisive’ Putrajaya over fees for doctors

The Malaysian Medical Association says the current fee structure has not been revised since 1992. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has hit out at Putrajaya over its “indecisiveness” in handling the harmonisation of fees for general practitioners (GPs) after the National Cost of Living Action Council requested for another round of studies.

In expressing disappointment with the decision, the association’s president, Dr N Ganabaskaran, said the health minister is empowered by the Private Healthcare Act to gazette the harmonisation of fees.

However, he lamented that the current Cabinet wants to micromanage every decision at the ministry level.

“MMA fails to understand the need for this merry-go-round consultations and impact studies, which are also a waste of time and taxpayers’ money,” he said in a statement, adding that GPs were being “relegated to irrelevance”.

The MMA had previously said that even though the harmonisation of the fee schedule would mean an increase from RM10-RM35 per consultation to RM30-RM125, there would at least be a fee structure that GPs would have to adhere to.

The current rate has not been revised since 1992.

MMA also said it would also not affect the B40 lower-income segment as they will still be charged affordable fees.

Ganabaskaran said the National Cost of Living Action Council, which is primarily concerned with the cost of living, should focus on rental, food and transportation costs, which he described as basic needs instead of the GP charges which have no direct impact on the cost of living.

He also said it had been explained many times in the past that the total fees for the public will not rise due to free market forces as well as reduction in medication cross-subsidies.

Ganabaskaran went on to urge the health minister to “do what’s right” and for all to stop this political manoeuvring.

“MMA expects no less from the health minister, the Pakatan Harapan government and the National Cost of Living Action Council as further delay in this long drawn-out unresolved issue would constitute a total disregard for the trust we placed in this government and make universal healthcare a meaningless tagline.”