MPS-MMA Seminar 2010:
Doctors and Pharmacists: Partners in Health Care
1. Doctors and pharmacists are integral players in the healthcare team and have complementary and synergistic roles to play in ensuring that patients get optimal medical care – doctors, by virtue of their in-depth knowledge of diseases and treatment modalities; and pharmacists, by virtue of their in-depth knowledge of medicines. They must therefore be able to support each other in their important roles.
2. In the public sector, doctors and pharmacists, each with their distinct roles in prescription and dispensing, have long been collaborating and working closely with each other in patient care, often going on ward rounds together. YBMK hopes that this culture will also spread to the private hospital and community settings.
3. As of Dec 2009, we have a total of 7,298 registered pharmacists in the country (i.e. 3,716 in the public and 3,582 in the private sector), giving a pharmacist to population ratio of 1:3,878.
4. With regard to the medical profession, we have 20,929 registered doctors in the public sector and 10,344 in the private sector, giving a total of 31,273 doctors, i.e. a doctor to population ratio of 1:905.
5. In other words, as at the end of 2009, we have 1 pharmacist to every 4.3 doctors in the country.
6. In terms of private community facilities, we have 6,672 registered General Practitioner Clinics against 1,830 Community Pharmacies in the country. In other words, we have, on average, 1 Community Pharmacy for every 3.6 General Practitioner Clinics in the country.
7. The Pharmacy Division, in collaboration with the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, has already embarked on a geo-mapping project to see if the Community Pharmacy to General Practitioner Clinic mix in the country is sufficient for the community pharmacies to adequately serve the needs of the rakyat vis-a-vis the GP clinics, particularly in the rural areas.
8. I have also instructed the Ministry to study if the ratio of 1 doctor to 600 population and 1 pharmacist to 2,000 population, as recommended by the WHO for developing countries, or a pharmacist to doctor mix of 1: 3.3 as implied by these ratios, are adequate for the needs of this country, bearing in mind the increasing trend towards specialisation and sub-specialisation of services.
9. With these in mind, it is timely for the two professions to sit down together to discuss these issues and all other matters of mutual interest, such as the placement and distribution of this manpower, and the separation of prescription and dispensing roles, in order to serve the rakyat and the nation better in the spirit of 1Care for 1Malaysia. We look forward to their proposals.