Proposed hike in private doctors’ consultation fees “not news” to PKR leader

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, August 28: News that medical practitioners in private hospitals and clinics could soon increase their consultation fees by between RM25 and RM90 from the current rate may have triggered panic among the public, but not from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Voon Shiak Ni.

The PKR national women vice-chief pointed out that private doctors were in fact already charging between RM60 and RM100 in consultation fees at present.

According to a Bernama report yesterday, Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said members of the public might end up paying more for consultation fees by private doctors soon as the charges of between RM10 and RM35 might increase to between RM35 and RM125 soon.

“I take note that the headlines have triggered much anxiety among the people in response to Dr Azman’s statement, but the fees are already more or less at that amount.

“We don’t generally get to pay RM10 to RM30 when we visit a private clinic or hospital nowadays,” Voon said in a statement today.

Dr Azman said the current consultation fees had not been revised for nearly 12 years, and the proposed hike was agreed to at the ‘Town Hall Session: Stakeholders Consultation on the Proposed Revision of General Practitioners’ Charges’ that was held at the Health Ministry.

On how the charges are defined, he said the more complex one’s illness, the higher the consultation charge would be, and the ceiling is RM125. He added that the proposal would be presented to Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad first and then to the Attorney-General’s Chambers and finally to the federal cabinet for endorsement.

Voon opined that visiting private medical practitioners was always a choice, where the sick could opt for public healthcare. But what matters most to the people is the accessibility of healthcare, whether they are rich or poor.

“That is why we are hopeful that efforts will be put into upgrading public hospitals and clinics that are either not properly maintained or late in completion, like the proposed Lawas and Petra Jaya hospitals.

“I strongly believe the Pakatan Harapan government will see to a better healthcare for the public, and we have confidence in our Minister of Health and his ministry that he will do the best for the people,” Voon added. — DayakDaily