Many doctors want to be posted to big cities only, says Health D-G
By K. ASHRAF KAMMED
The Star, December 20, 2010KUALA LUMPUR: As professionals, young doctors should embrace the art of healing and stop being choosy about where they are going to serve when they begin work.
Doctors must be prepared to serve in areas where they are needed so the public have have accessible and affordable healthcare.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said many young doctors today were still not ready for the challenge to serve where the need was greatest.
“Most want to be in big centres and many would appeal when posted to hospitals outside the Klang Valley or capital cities,” he said at a pre-Medical Student Conference in Prince Court Medical Centre yesterday.
Ministry of Health Deputy Director of Disease Control Dr. Zainal Ariffin Omar, who represented Ismail, read out his speech.
Ismail said the doctor per population ratio has improved from a very modest 1 doctor to 8,229 people in 1957 to a ratio of 1: 927 in 2009.
He said numbers alone were not meaningful without considering the distribution factor.
“There is still an inequitable distribution of doctors between the public and private sector where most are in the urban areas and in some clinics in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, which are still manned by medical assistants,” said Ismail.
He also stressed that great efforts have been made over the last few years to introduce various incentives and benefits for doctors to continue serving with the government.
“Hardship allowance for rural posting based on specific locations, automatic promotion of house officers from UD41 to UD44 upon successfully completion of housemanship training are just some examples,” said Ismail.