THE Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Association of Malaysia (FPMPAM) would like to raise concern over the quality of 1Malaysia clinics, which are staffed by hospital assistants.
FPMPAM fully supports and encourages more health initiatives to serve the public and their health needs. However, clinics serving the public must comply with the standard outlined by the government to improve the level of healthcare, which is the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 (PHCFS Act 1998) and Regulations 2006.
The PHCFS Act 1998 and Regulations 2006 require that all private clinics have specific written policies and standard operating procedures to ensure that quality of care is maintained in all clinics. Among them is the statutory requirement that clinics must be operated by a registered medical practitioner at all times.
This is why we were very surprised that, as announced in the 2010 federal budget, the government will be setting up 1Malaysia clinics operated by hospital assistants.
This is inconsistent with the regulations. In the past, private clinics operated by hospital assistants have been raided and prosecuted by the Ministry of Health. Does this new initiative mean that private clinics will now also be allowed to be operated by hospital assistants?
We suppose it depends on the scope of services the government aims to deliver. But the expectation is that these are fully operational medical clinics where members of the public can be treated for illnesses.
Another curious point is the setting up of many of these clinics in urban areas, where there are ample private and public healthcare facilities. These clinics should be located in the outskirts and suburban areas, where they are badly needed.
We feel that the government should be lauded for making efforts to reach out to the needy. However, there needs to be some re-tuning to ensure that its delivery reaches its target population: the urban and the rural poor.
Dr Ng Swee Choon
Medical affairs committee
24 Nov 2009
The Nut Graph needs your support