THE Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) fully endorses the Malaysian Medical Association’s stand on the National Cost of Living Action Council (Naccol) once again postponing the rectification of the General Practitioners Fee schedule with another “study”.
Naccol should realise that there was already a hike in 2013 but it was mistakenly placed in Schedule 13 instead of Schedule 7 in the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act. This was not realised until third party administrators/managed care organisations pointed out that Schedule 7 was unamended, in a move to force general practitioners to accept a RM10 minimum consultation fee.
While Schedule 13 mentions “fee for general practitioners in private hospitals”, in actual fact, there are no general practitioners in private hospitals. If there was a judicial review of this issue, MPCAM is quite sure general practitioners would come out victorious.
While the Health Ministry has conducted various stakeholder town hall meetings and several engagements since 2015, and there have been other examinations such as the stakeholders regulatory impact analysis in 2017 and the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s impact study in 2019, Naccol has decided to conduct yet another “study”.
After all these years of various studies, including impact studies and hundreds of discussions and meetings, why is Naccol asking for another study? The government doesn’t seem to trust impact studies done by its own departments which were presented to Naccol.
A long-term solution to this problem would be for the fee schedule in the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act to be removed; then allow the professional fees of doctors to be determined by the profession itself, just like all other professions and professional groups do. Doctors are the only professionals who have their fees regulated by an Act of Parliament.
With the government led by two doctors, many felt that most doctors’ issues would be solved under their leadership, but sadly, that is not happening and doctors’ issues are getting more serious by the day. A clear example is Naccol, which is chaired by none other than a medical doctor.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
DR RAJ KUMAR MAHARAJAH
President, Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM)