GE15: Next govt must deliver on health care promises, says MMA

PETALING JAYA: Political coalitions are reminded to deliver on healthcare promises once voted in, says the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

Its president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said it is hoped these promises will not be conveniently forgotten once the coalition elected is given the power.

Some of the promises made for health include resolving the contract doctor issue, manpower shortages in the public health system and also allocations for health in Budget 2023.

"MMA reminds all political coalitions contesting in the 15th General Election (GE15) that they have a duty and responsibility to deliver on promises made in their manifestos and during their campaigning if they are voted in as the new government," said Dr Muruga Raj in a statement on Friday (Nov 18).

He said that the contract doctor issue, in particular, should be aimed to be resolved within the first 90 days of the new health minister in office.

Addressing the contract doctor issue needed to be given urgency as some 3,000 medical graduates will enter the public healthcare system each year but there are currently only 1,500 permanent positions given to contract doctors each year.

"It is an issue which the new government will need political will to resolve as it will involve the intake of medical students, medical schools, the houseman training programme, contract system, long term human resource planning and budgeting as well as creation of permanent posts," he said.

Dr Muruga Raj also pointed out the public healthcare system is facing shortages in manpower as can be seen in the overcrowding and long waiting time at government healthcare facilities.

"The new health minister will need to look into the planning of human resources and creation of posts while taking into account the number of years needed to train doctors and specialists," he said, adding that specialists need more years in the system to be trained.

Dr Muruga Raj also said that as Budget 2023 will need to be retabled and debated by MPs, it is hoped that there will be an increase in the allocations for health.

He however questioned if the new government will be "bold enough and committed" to healthcare reforms with an increase in its health budget to 5% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2023.

"Importantly, there must be transparency in the management of healthcare allocations," he said.

Dr Muruga Raj added that the momentum for reforms must be kept up as the people were expecting improvements and once GE15 concludes.

Polling for GE15 takes place on Saturday (Nov 19).

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