Saturday, January 27, 2007

Malaysian Health Minister reflective of Malaysia's ills

I refer to Zafar Shah’s letter “The Arrogant Malaysian Health Minister” and cannot agree with him more. This guy’s conceit and condescending remarks are not only disgusting but increasingly reflective of this government’s “couldn’t be bothered attitude” towards Malaysians in general. He thinks he has rammed down the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 down GPs’ throats and now can sneakily ram down the National Healthcare Financing Scheme down the public’s throats by appointing a foreign consultant and a local CEO while hiding behind the OSA.

Needless to say both he and his publicity seeking Director-General have lost the plot. Just last week they were after private medical colleges for a lack of lecturer-student ratios when even LAN and the Education Ministry didn’t know anything about it and this whole week they appear to be focusing on raiding, through elaborate undercover schemes, clinics that are not run by dukuns, pawangs, Chinese sinsehs (which by the way, Chua will never dare disturb) and ayurvedics but clinics actually run by Medical Assistants, Nurses and Midwifes who in all likelihood were trained by the MOH itself.

Don’t these guys have anything better to do? Forget about Dengue, Avian flu or even the floods. Leadership in Healthcare died with Sardon Jubir (Read MGG Pillai), when the MOH became nothing more then a vehicle for money making. Just look who are the Deans, Presidents of Private Medical Colleges or don't be surprised who directors are of medical equipment suppliers - ex-MOH officials including ex-DGs. So much for transparency, corruption, etc, etc. Even Judges in this country are not allowed to join a legal firm until after 5 years after retirement. But in the MOH anything goes.

This Minister is so arrogant that medical students who came for an excursion to the Ministry of Health must have wished they had skipped it. The minister and his DG’s penchant to hide behind the Malaysian Medical Council’s skirts everytime they want to implement anything controversial does not hold water anymore. The MMC became a discredited body the moment racialist overtones were seen in the Crimean episode. Colleges both private and public unable to meet the criteria set should just be told “NO” to recognition. Manipal till this day is not recognized neither in Singapore, Australia or the UK but we recognize it. Why? Because there is a need for more doctors and this incredible pressure from the government, of whom a subservient MMC is a footnote, not independent of the Executive. The needs of the country must clearly be met lest we fall statistically short of taking care of our countrymen's healthcare needs. The solution is simple - a common exit examination for all graduating medical students, private or public, recognized or unrecognized, science stream or arts stream based, foreign or local, GMC or non-GMC recognized. But never, never, fall into the race trap, for then the medical profession will always have to live with - no credibility. We should then not fault the public or courts for siding with Whitaker instead of Bolam.

To those eager students who visited the MOH for a shot at inspiration but instead got lectured that they may be "no standard", loose not hope for medicine is all about initiative, drive and desire to keep up with new knowledge and changes. And if you have that drive in you to keep learning and apply it diligently - you will always be a good doctor, no matter what people tell you. And to the Minister, the MCA should really send him back to Batu Pahat where I believe mandors currently are in great need.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

u wrote this?