MMA wants Primary Healthcare Commission to address outpatient needs

The Malaysian Medical Association says healthcare facilities are underfunded, leading to doctors and staff being overworked. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has proposed that the government set up a Primary Healhcare Commission to address outpatient needs.

MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran, in a statement today, said the commission can help study ways to improve and revamp the service.

He said the commission can find ways to get the health ministry’s 7,000 general practitioners to reduce congestion at outpatient clinics.

“The series of events culminating in the unfortunate recent incident at a health centre reflects the present challenges of providing primary medical care by the government,” Ganabaskaran said in reference to a viral video showing a doctor shouting at a patient in Negeri Sembilan to get out.

“The system is underfunded, leading to dire consequences of overworked doctors and understaffed healthcare facilities.

“Many doctors and nurses are overwhelmed with the excessive burden of the unmanageable high-patient load.

“There is also an inadequate number of primary care clinics and consultation rooms to cater for all the patients.”

Ganabaskaran said the public must be prepared to pay and invest more in the healthcare system so that the increasingly complex healthcare needs of all can be met.

“The MMA notes with regret the recent outburst at a public health facility. While only the reaction is being highlighted, the action that led to this sort of reaction should also be investigated and the system improved.

“We wish to remind all doctors that professional standards must be maintained at all times, more so in situations of high stress.”

Ganabaskaran urged patients and members of the public to be aware of the extremely challenging work environment doctors face daily in providing medical service.

“Viralling videos or postings on social media that do not reflect the whole situation in its entirety is unfair and can be seen as defamatory from certain perspectives.”

Ganabaskaran urged the public with grievances towards the medical care they receive to give feedback in a constructive manner, and through the official channels, so that the system can be improved further.

In the “shouting doctor” incident, the family of the patient alleged that he had cough and flu but was given flu and diarrhoea medicines instead.

The Negeri Sembilan Health Department said the case had since been resolved through negotiations between both sides. It also warned that nobody was allowed to take pictures or video recordings without permission at any healthcare facility.