Don’t interfere in doctor transfers

by J Martin

I read with interest in the mainstream media regarding Lee Kah Choon’s reply in parliament and appeal to politicians from interfering with doctor’s transfers.

This, of course, is a long standing problem in not only the Health Ministry but almost every ministry in the country, especially when it involves the transfer of senior officers.

However the Health Minister should also look into other areas where politicians have been known to be a nuisance.

Politicians should further:

1. Not interfere where hospitals are to be built. We have frequently multi-million ringgit hospitals in constituencies where there are actually more cattle than people just because the ruling party candidate there wants a leg-up to win the election.

This is an absolute waste of health resources. Even recently the MOH suddenly allocated RM16 million for a “health clinic” for Ijok which has a total population of less then 15,000.

2. Not interfere with who gets the equipment contract to supply the MOH.

3. Not push their own favored, frequently incompetent contractors, to build hospitals.

4. Not interfere with who gets to supply pharmaceuticals and consumables.

5. Wives or husbands of politicians should not be promoted for positions when there are other more loyal and dedicated employees who have been waiting for ages to be promoted.

6. They shouldn’t lobby for their favorite officer, son, daughter, Pengarah, deputy DG, DG etc for Datukships and Tan Sri’s.

7. Not interfere with who gets to operate the hospital car park.

8. Not interfere with who gets to operate the hospital cafeteria.

9. Not interfere with who gets to operate the hospital’s minimarket.

10. Not interfere with who gets the scholarship to pursue their postgraduate studies.

11. Not interfere with who gets to be the Head of Department, Dean, Pengarah, Deputy DG, DG etc.

12. In addition, politicians shouldn’t influence who gets to enter medical school.

13. Not interfere with who gets which MOH privatization deal.

14. Not let politicians decide who gets to set up medical schools and also take excessive students without lecturers.

15. Not tell medical schools to drop standards to allow students to pass.

16. Not decide which medical school gets recognized and which doesn’t.

I am certain readers can add on more to this list. How on earth is the MOH going to police and enforce this?

They don’t have the resources, manpower and even administrative or political clout. No amount of memos, rules, regulations or acts of parliament is going to stop this nonsense.

In fact if the MOH tried, they would probably be playing catch the thief and forget all about patient care.

The Minister really needs to look into who is advising him as it is beginning to appear as a case of Nigel Hawthorne’s paradoxical maneuvering and machinations in the BBC sitcom “Yes Minister”.

Not too long ago, in a ‘quick-fix’ solution, the cabinet approved the recruitment of 1,000 foreign doctors. However in 2003, reportedly due to poor performances ranging from poor skills, communication and discipline, 120 of these doctors were fired and a further number got terminated last year which was reported in the media round the world giving the impression that officials running the MOH may have no clue what they are doing.

Political interference in the MOH will only stop if the MOH starts to look into decentralizing and to have less government in its management.

And to achieve this, it needs to look into systems such as that of the NHS in the UK or the one in Singapore. It is high time the MOH stops duplicating services especially in towns with multiple private hospitals and just work out a scheme to outsource services as is currently being done for heart, dialysis and cancer services.

The wastage at the MOH where costs and services are hugely marked up by rent seeing politicians and just about anyone else wanting to have a finger in the pie is long past overdue.

  1. #1 by BioLovepulse on Sunday, 27 May 2007 - 9:55 am

    Although I’m not deciding to become a doctor, however, as a prospective life science student, I am concerned with matters in the healthcare industry too.

    The medical field is the life and death of the people. No politician should be toying on it for their own gain. Some time ago we have things like fungus growing in a hospital. This has severely tarnish the image of healthcare industry in Malaysia.

    What if incompetent contractors left a building defect, and this caused an outbreak of disease in the hospital? This will be both a havoc and tragedy! Don’t let innocent lives be lost because they’re getting sick!

  2. #2 by toyolbuster on Sunday, 27 May 2007 - 10:36 am

    Don’t you think that Politicians are also interfering into the Education system like who gets into which uni and who gets to study in private international schools.

    Our Healthcare service is already screwed up beyond help. It was never meant to help the poor or the sick. It was the politicians milking cow and the cow is now unable to produce any more milk. So, the politicians have no more interest in the cow and thats why even the hospital workers are beginning to rip off whatever crumbs thats left such as the reason why some ambulances keep running out of petrol, oxygen, etc.

    The voters have to realise whats going on in the country and Education is sacred. For the sake of our children, don’t ever let them screw up the education system.

  3. #3 by crosstalk on Sunday, 27 May 2007 - 12:08 pm

    After reading the various postings concerning the overall administration of our beloved ‘motherland’,many of us may be in despair now.We are not just thinking of our generation.What about our children and also their children?

    It is hoped that all wise people would stand up to right all the wrongs n blunders caused by all those selfish,greedy n idiotic politicians in power.Shame on these SOB plunderers,may them be high ranking government official or those cloaked by impressive titles.Hell to these SOB.

  4. #4 by toyolbuster on Sunday, 27 May 2007 - 12:13 pm

    If Hospitals are managed by professionals, AND, without any interference from Politicians such as those MCA fellas, there will be lesser corruption, Drs will be more motivated and promotions will be based on merits. Patients will be well looked after by professional nurses who in turn are managed by truly qualified senior nurses or “sisters”. Maintenance and cleanliness will be a priority. Waiting time will be shortened. Ambulance services will be instantaneous and many more lives can be saved. BUT, dream on baby. This is Malaysia.

  5. #5 by Jururawat on Sunday, 27 May 2007 - 1:57 pm

    Actually the people who are in direct contact with all forms of communications; circulars, letters, messages, memos, application forms et cetera are the same people that can erase, that can change, that can cancel, that can submit and all else; in short, sabotage. May be they are under orders to do so. May be they do it out of a personal grudge. Therefore if they do so, how professional can they be ? There are so many of them in the office. Your important document get to be passed from one hand to another; from one table to another; from one good worker to another bad worker and finally they tell you your document is missing. Somehow along the way, it is thrown into the rubbish bin. Or it just disappeared into thin air. May be there is Bermuda Triangle in existence in the very office. Some alien come through and take away your document. Ask the rubbish collector. They will tell you they see your document inside the bin. With a longer chain of command, we have no choice but to face more bureaucracy and more red tape. By the way the NHS in UK is also facing problems. So don’t just follow blindly without knowing all the details.

  6. #6 by Libra2 on Sunday, 27 May 2007 - 4:00 pm

    Have you heard speeches made by UMNO leaders at their divisional AGMs? I have.
    This is one oft repeated mantras: “UMNO itu kerajaan, kerajaan itu UMNO.”
    Whi is to stop them from interfering in local,state and federal government affairs.

  7. #7 by good coolie on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 10:20 am

    Hello you fellows, don’t forget this is Malaysia, not a developed country like America. Our administration must be Malaysian-style,
    so be loyal and don’t critise.
    Corruption, nepotism, and inefficiency, and ofcourse, dirty toilets
    are our national culture. So if you don’t like it, baliklah kepada XYZ!

  8. #8 by FuturePolitician on Monday, 28 May 2007 - 11:04 am

    having elected stupid representative of the people ( politician) it is all because of the voters…facing problems like having a MP( graduated in social science, cheapo degree) medling in affairs such as healthcare.. wrong people for the wrong job..

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