PUTRAJAYA: General practitioners (GPs) are continuing to press for an increase in their fees by harmonising their fees with that of medical doctors in private hospitals.
The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Association Malaysia (FPMPAM) pointed out that the Health Minister has the power to amend the fee schedule of GPs without going through the Cabinet.
Section 107 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act provided for the power for the minister to do that, said the association’s honorary secretary Dr G. Shanmuganathan.
“It says that the minister may, from time to time, amend the fee schedule by publishing it in the gazette.
“So, why the need to go through the Cabinet?” he said in a townhall session between the Health Minister and GPs yesterday.
The consultation fees for GPs working in private hospitals was revised from RM35 to RM125 in 2013 but not for private GPs operating clinics from shoplots, which remain between RM10 and RM35.
GP fees, as stated in the 7th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Medical Clinics and Private Dental Clinics) Regulations 2006, had not changed in 27 years, said doctors.
GPs have been calling for the fee harmonisation as provided for in Schedule 13 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006 when it was revised in 2013.
Dr Shanmuganathan said he was disappointed that the matter still had to be referred to the National Cost of Living Council.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad assured the more than 800 GPs at the townhall meeting that he and his team in the ministry were with them and supported their request for the fee harmonisation.
He said the Cabinet felt that timing was the issue as the increase would have an impact on the economy.On May 9, Dr Dzulkefly said the Cabinet did not reject the proposal but would discuss it at the National Cost of Living Council meeting before being brought up in the Cabinet again.
Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry empathised with the GPs but he said they too need to know where the government was coming from.