MMA: Need for more healthcare workers to meet demand

PETALING JAYA: There must be sufficient planning of healthcare human resources according to the needs and population growth of the country, says the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said sufficient time was also needed to train healthcare workers.

Malaysia, he added, has yet to meet the recommended 1:400 doctor to patient ratio in public healthcare facilities.

In some hospitals, the ratio could even go up to as high as one doctor to 1,000 patients, he said, adding that there were also shortages in the number of public healthcare specialists.

“Our worry is there might not be enough specialists in the future as the demand for specialist services is expected to further increase due to an ageing population.

“Malaysia will reach ageing nation status in 2030 where 15% of its population will be 60 years or older. How are we preparing for this demographic change in our population?” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Muruga Raj was commenting on the Public Service Department’s (PSD) decision to stop scholarships for first degrees in the medical field, which, he said, came as the nation was still facing a shortage of medical professionals in the public and private sectors.

He said while there was a need to manage the number of medical graduates, abruptly stopping the scholarships for medical studies might not be the way.

Malaysian Pharmacists Society president Amrahi Buang hoped the government would reconsider the move, noting that the nation still needed pharmacists in the public and private sectors.

“Priority should be given to those who really want to be pharmacists, especially those in the B40 and M40. Those qualified should be supported by the government,” he said.

On Friday, The Star reported that the PSD sponsorships for first degrees this year will not include the medical, dental, pharmacy and education fields.

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