KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad and his fellow Cabinet members to finally make a decision regarding the harmonisation of fees for general practitioners (GP).
Its president Dr N. Ganabaskaran expressed disappointment at the National Cost of Living Action Council (Naccol) over its Tuesday decision to order for another study to be conducted on the impact of harmonising GP fees with their hospital counterparts.
“Meanwhile it is clear that GPs who were the bedrock of this nation’s primary health care for the last 50 years and whom had been trained by the Health Ministry, are being relegated to irrelevance,” he said in a statement.
Dr Ganabaskaran said Naccol should be taking serious measures in rental, food and transportation costs since it is primarily concerned about living costs, rather than minute GP charges which have no direct impact on the living costs, due to the freely available alternative option of free government healthcare services.
“GP services supplement the government system and is an additional option for the public, but not a compulsory choice. It has also been explained many times before that the total encounter fees for the public will not rise due to free market forces as well as reduction in medication cross subsidies.
“The Minister is empowered by the Private Healthcare Act to gazette the harmonisation of fees. However, the current cabinet wants to micromanage every decision at the ministry level. MMA fails to understand the need for this merry-go-round consultations and impact studies which is also a waste of time and taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Dr Ganabaskaran also urged Dzulkefly to do what is right and uphold the ideals of leaving no one behind, and to finally cease political manoeuvring.
“MMA expects no less from the Minister of Health, the Pakatan Government and Naccol as further delay in this long drawn unresolved issue would constitute a total disregard for the trust we placed in this government and make universal healthcare a meaningless tagline,” he said.