28 August 2007

Government Mulls Service Extension To Overcome Shortage Of Doctors


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry is studying the possibility of extending the services of medical officers and specialists to overcome the shortage of doctors.

The ministry's parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said this was being looked at from two main aspects -- extending doctors' compulsory service period at the government hospitals or the service of medical officers in public service.

Lee was responding to Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman (BN-Labuan) at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today who suggested that the government extend the compulsory service of doctors and raise the retirement age of government doctors from 56 to 65 to overcome the shortage of doctors in the country.

At present, doctors are required to do compulsory service at government hospitals for only three years.

Lee said to solve the problem, the ministry was also expanding the scope for recognising medical qualifications from abroad.

However, he added, the medical degrees or certificates must meet local standards.

Besides these, the government was also making efforts to automatically reappoint medical officers and specialists based on their excellent service and good health, besides working with the Higher Education Ministry to raise the quota of student intake for medicine and to create more opportunities for promotion," he said.

"We do also cooperate with the Human Resources Ministry in a programme to encourage Malaysian doctors and medical specialists working overseas to return to serve the country."

To another question, Lee said at the moment, Malaysia was still facing shortage of specialists in radiotherapy and oncology, neurology, nephrology, paediatric surgery, hand and microsurgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, cardiology and cardiothoracic.

He said to overcome the problem, the ministry went into a joint programme with the private hospitals, for instance, by hiring their oncology service not available at some government hospitals while trying to improve such service at the government hospitals.

No comments: