No increase in consultation fees

29 Aug 2018 / 21:52 H.

    THE Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia wishes to clarify that there will be no increase in the total cost when the rakyat visit their general practitioners (GPs) once the fees are gazetted.
    It was clearly mentioned at the Town Hall meeting that though the consultation fee is to be increased, the total cost of treatment (consultation, medication and procedures), will remain the same.
    The fee guideline for GPs in private clinics (shop lot practices) came into effect in 1992 as a mere guideline by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
    In 2006, the Ministry of Health, incorporated these fees into the new act, called the Private Healthcare and Facilities Act in 2006, without any revision even though it was a fee from the 1992 schedule.
    However, for the GPs working in private hospitals, their consultation fee was revised in 2013 from RM35 to RM125.
    The revision in 2013 was not for the GPs in clinics, which remained at RM10 to RM35.
    So we had a different consultation fee for the GP working in the private hospital out-patient department (OPD) and a lesser consultation fee for those in stand alone clinics, no doubt, both were equally qualified and did the same amount of work.
    The doctors hence asked for the fees to be stream lined. This is not a revision, but only a request for the fees to be the same for all GPs, whether working in clinics or in the OPD of private hospitals.
    With the increasing cost of medicine, staff salary, rental and other over heads, the GPs in standalone clinics with solo practices were unable to absorb these costs any longer to sustain these clinics on their own.
    We repeatedly said the total fee with your GP will not increase because now doctors will charge their deserved consultation fee while the price of medicine will remain competitive, and be determined by market forces. The overall cost per encounter by the patient will remain the same.
    Further the pharmacy division, which was also present at the Town Hall meeting mentioned that the government will soon regulate the price of medicines, which will benefit the consumer and the sick.
    Patients who feel they will be able to get cheaper medicine from the pharmacy may consult their doctor and get a prescription to get them from there.
    We will also see prices decrease with the introduction of the National Health Financing System where doctors will concentrate on consultation, examination and procedures, whereas medicines can either be collected from the clinic or the pharmacy.
    Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah,
    deputy president,
    Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia

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