Acute shortage of doctors in Sarawak

  • Nation
  • Friday, 30 May 2008

KUCHING: Sarawak wants the Health Ministry to quickly resolve the acute shortage of medical officers and specialists in its hospitals.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said that of the 1,334 medical officers' posts, only 510 or 38.2% had been filled.

He said about 90 of the 510 medical officers were housemen.

“The situation in health clinics is even more dire as only 22.2% of the 373 medical officers’ posts are filled.

“This severe shortage, if left uncorrected, will adversely affect the quality of healthcare services in the state,” he added when opening the 48th Malaysian Medical Association annual general meeting Santubong near here.

On the shortage of specialists, Taib said of the 175 such posts in the Sarawak General Hospital here, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu hospitals, 135 or 77.5% had been filled.

He said specialist posts should also be created for other larger divisional hospitals like in Sri Aman, Sarikei and Kapit.

“I appeal to the ministry to fill the vacant posts (specialist and medical officers) as soon as possible so that our people can enjoy better healthcare.”

Taib said only about 70% of the state’s 2.3 million people had access to hospitals and clinics, compared to 95% in the peninsula.

He said the high immunisation coverage in remote areas was largely maintained through the flying doctor service.

Taib said 2,000 village health officials had been trained to provide basic healthcare to 300,000 villagers in nearly 1,800 rural settlements throughout the state.

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