Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Bleak Future

That was the title of an article that was published in the April(15-30) edition of the Medical Tribune.

The starting of the article was not inspiring to say the least for me as a General Practitioner (GP) in Malaysia. Dato' Dr Noorul Ameen Mohamed Ishack (Chairman and Founder of Qualitas Medical Group) was quoted as saying "I do not see a future for GP practice in this country unless someone adressess the issues and, at the bare minimum, there is some recognition of the challenges we face". Wow, i did not see that coming. He also quoted that the group of GP is shrinking as there are many factors that prevent cost-effective, high quality and affordable primary healthcare.

As it stands now, GP's faces challenges in not just managing patient and treating them. But they are also faced with challenges in managing the human resources, escalating drug cost (which i will explain later), increasing costs in maintenance and wages, and also facing all sorts of regulations set by the ministry.
In the article also stated that the consultation charges in Malaysia is the lowest in the region ranging from RM10 to RM18 for common ailment compared to Bangladesh (one of the poorest country) charges almost RM25 for the same ailment. Another WOW!!! As for me, sometimes i don't even charge my patient any consultation fees. As my patient comes from a poor socio-economic status. It is hard for them enough to face the increasing medicine price and also the cost of living. You might say that they can always get treatment from a government hospitals at only RM1. But there are factors that led them to see a private practitioner, such as long waiting time.

The recent oil price hike was a catalysts for the increase price of medicine. It was already going up, but the price hike accelerated the process. Previously the medicine can be bought in Gallons and also big jars. But government regulations changed it and now drug companies had to package their medicines in smaller packs. By doing so, the price of the medicine had rocketed sometimes until 50 to 100%. I am already absorbing some of the cost of the medicine, but at the same time i was thinking of the well being of the patients too. For me, it is better that i have some patients rather than no patient at all.

The article also stated that there are misconception of GP's earning tons of money and filthy rich.
Some GP's only earn about 5k per month which is equivalent to the government doctor, but with the added stress of other factors which i mentioned earlier. It also said that private practitioners had died of heart attacks due to stress and long working hours without rest. As they sometimes are unable to find locum. Hmmmmm.... i should take care of myself now as not follow that route.
I guess that the future is still unknown, even though it is painted as a bleak future. The role of private practitioner still remains important in our healthcare system. The main point for me is that think of the patient first. The rest will follow...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary...

Today is our 8th anniversary!!
happy anniversary dear.
Wish you are here with me today..