GPs continue pressure to raise consultation fees

GPs continue pressure to raise consultation fees

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian general practitioners (GPs) continued to pressure for an increase in their consultation fees so that it is equivalent to doctors in private hospitals.

The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Association Malaysia (FPMPAM) said that the Health Minister is empowered to amend the fee schedule of GPs without going through the Cabinet.

Section 107 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act provided for the power for the minister to do that, said the association’s honorary secretary Dr G. Shanmuganathan.

“It says that the minister may, from time to time, amend the fee schedule by publishing it in the gazette.

“So, why the need to go through the Cabinet?” he said in a townhall session between the Health Minister and GPs yesterday.

The consultation fees for GPs working in private hospitals was revised from RM35 to RM125 in 2013. It excluded private GPs operating clinics from shoplots, who continue to charge between RM10 and RM35.

GP fees, as stated in the 7th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Medical Clinics and Private Dental Clinics) Regulations 2006, had not changed in 27 years, said doctors.

The fee harmonization has been called for since 2013 as it is provided for in Schedule 13 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006 when it was revised in 2013.

Dr Shanmuganathan was disappointed that the matter still had to be referred to the National Cost of Living Council.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad assured more than 800 GPs at the townhall meeting that he and his team in the ministry were with them and supported their request for the fee harmonisation.

He told the doctors that there were concerns among the Cabinet members that the raise would impact the economy.

Last month Dr Dzulkefly said that the issue would be raised at the National Cost of Living Council meeting before being brought up in the Cabinet again.

Dr Dzulkefly added that the ministry empathised with the GPs but he said they too need to know where the government was coming from.