The queue at govt hospitals

I woke up at 5.30am this morning to send my dad for his followup appointment with one of the gaestrologists at the Selayang Hospital.

The appointment was scheduled at 10am but since there were some road closures in KL this whole week, I decided it was better to be there early. So, by 830am, we arrived at the waiting hall near the specialists clinic of Selayang Hospital.

As anticipated, there must have been at least a hundred people (or more) already waiting for the various services available. The satff were all set to assist in any way they could (and maybe some of them have been working long hours during the entire week), but the main problem (based on my personal observation) was the insufficent ratio of doctors per patient. Simple as that. So, all that the patients could do was wait and wait and wait until thier turn finally came…

My father is a retired govt servant & can easily afford treatment in a private medical facility, but a family friend strongly recommended this particular specialist in Hospital Selayang. Whats more, it all FOC.

But then again, the price that we had to pay this morning was waiting TIME … as the Malay proverb goes “penantian itu satu penyiksaan”. How long? We arrived at 830am & left the hospital at 1230pm. 4 hours in total. How long was the consultation? Less than 10 minutes.

And again, I do not blame the staff because they their hands full most of the time & working around the clock but what we really need to look into is the ratio issue. 

This insufficent ratio does not only apply to the Selayang Hospital, but generally to all government hospitals nationwide. Its not something new but has been a major concern of many quarters.

My only wish is that there were many many more opportunities given to the interested group of students who have dedicated their interest and life to the field of medical science. As I see it, the current problem is, after form 5/form 6/pre U, those who are really interested may lack any of the following :

  • good high grades but not high enough
  • too much competition
  • not enough places to study medicine
  • financial problems
  • lack of proper guidence
  • disappointed with the entire selection system

So, once upon a time, there were statements in the local media with a clear message stating :”we need more doctors”.

Do you know the recent statistics? Well, the one that I came accross, provided by the Minsitry of Health shows that in 2004 the ratio of health human resources to the Malaysian population are as follows :

  • Doctors         = 1 :1,402
  • Pharmacists   = 1 : 7,296
  • Dentists        = 1 : 10,032
  • Nurses          = 1 : 636

In order to get it down to 1:500 doctors, we’d need to have almost 3 times the number of doctors now (currently at 18,246). This means in the next 2 years, there should be  another 36,000+ Malaysians qualified as doctors to achieve the 1:500 doctor to population ratio.

However, its not only producing more doctors to facilitate the current needs. With the 2004 total population at 25.5 million people & an annual population growth of 2.1% per annum, there’s an addition of half a million+ people to the entire population per year.

But how many new doctors are we really producing at the moment? Barely enough!

FYI, the 18,246 doctors are total of those serving in the govt and private sectors. Of course, there is the other issue of migration (brain drain) of govt doctors to the private sector.

My brother who is also a medical doctor said that the joke among his friends in the medical field is, when govt doctors opt to go into the private sector, they call it “turning to the Dark Side” as in the famous Star Wars movie. Whereby the “Dark Side” is a symbol of evil, thus represented by money. Still, its only a joke…

But of course, the brain drain of doctors is another hot debate & a totally different story…

One Response to “The queue at govt hospitals”
  1. afza says:

    well naz, 4 hr is ok.
    usually i send my dad for his quarterly checkup at UH. we (must) arrive at 7:30am or u’ll be the 300th person in line. then i went for work. by noon, i’ll call him by noon to check whether he had finished. usually by 1:30pm, i can fetch him back and send him home.

    consultation time? 10 minutes only maa.. quick what…

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