By YUEN MEIKENG
KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry wants to hire more private doctors to work in government hospitals to supplement the 50% shortage of medical officers and specialists in the country.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the ministry would ensure private doctors were given deserving salaries and promised that their admission into public hospitals would take as fast as two weeks.
“The private doctors can work based on contract or sessions. They can work two weeks in a private hospital and spend the rest of the month in a government hospital. It would be like putting one leg in the public hospital and the other in a private hospital,” he said.
Dr Ismail was speaking to the press after delivering his keynote address on “Building A Safety Culture Through Accountability” at the 8th Ministry of Health Malaysia – Academy of Medicine of Malaysia Scientific Meeting 2009 at the Institute for Health Management here yesterday.
He said the ministry had started advertising since last week to rope in more private medical practitioners.
“In private hospitals, doctors are highly qualified but do not get extensive experience while government hospitals have too many cases but lack skilled medical officers. Therefore, we want to integrate both sides so that patients may get optimum treatment,” he added.
Dr Ismail said the ministry had received complaints from doctors who wanted to join public hospitals but waited up to a year for their applications to be processed.
“But now the ministry wants to adopt a friendly approach and we welcome anyone interested to join us,” he said, adding that the ministry also wanted to retain skilled public hospital doctors even if they were aged over 65.
He revealed that there were currently a total of 25,000 doctors in the country but the health sector still lacked manpower in every department, especially for positions such as anaesthetists, physicians and surgeons.