Half found with health risks

PETALING JAYA: Socso’s programme to screen employees for non-communicable diseases (NCD) has uncovered some worrying finds.


More than half of the employees who underwent its free health screening program (HSP) from 2013 were found to be at risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


While health experts have pointed to lifestyle and eating habits as the root of the problem, Socso is renewing its call for more Malaysians to undergo the free health screening to detect problems before they get too serious.


Employers who are alarmed with the high numbers have also expressed concern over the costs they have to bear for their sick employees.


Analysis on 308,039 employees who underwent the health screening programme from January until Dec 31 showed that 36.94% of the employees were overweight, 17.63% were obese, 13.14% had hypertension and 8.45% have diabetes.


It also showed that 61.76% of the employees had hypercholesterolemia – the presence of an abnormally large amount of cholesterol in the blood.


The analysis showed that 110,932 workers were overweight with a body mass index (BMI) reading of 25-29.99 while 52,938 were obese with a BMI above 30.




Medical schedule shows hikes of more than 200%

The Star Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM


PUTRAJAYA: Private medical fees are up, but there is confusion over the exact percentage of the rise.


While the Health Minister said the increase has been capped at 14.4%, – less than half the amount the Malaysian Medical Association had requested – the medical schedule showed hikes of a more than 200% on certain fee ceilings.


Consultation fees, for instance, increased from a range of RM10-RM35 to a new range of RM30-RM125.


Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, however, said the fees were the maximum amount that doctors were allowed to charge and they were free to charge less.


“Those (in the fee schedule) are the maximum rates. We are protecting the people from being charged exorbitantly by the private sector,” he said here yesterday.


Dr Subramaniam said the ministry had rejected the Malaysian Medical Association’s request for a 30% increase.


He added that the 14.4% increase was reasonable given that the inflation rate was around 23%.


On Monday, an online news portal highlighted that an amendment to the 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 had been implemented in a hush manner.


The Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities Regulations 2006 of the Act, which was published in the federal gazette on Dec 16 last year, provides for the maximum chargeable fees for registered medical and dental practitioners practising in private hospitals in terms of their professional fees such as consultation and performance of procedures.





Malaysia’s Healthcare System Hailed

The STAR Published: Tuesday February 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM


PETALING JAYA: The country’s achievement at being rated third best in the world for healthcare services is something to be proud of, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.


He also gave credit to the boom in the country’s medical tourism sector through strategic investments on good medical facilities and competitive rates compared to other parts of the world.


“Medical tourism has benefited the Government in terms of foreign direct investments and also spin-off effects in the hotel and shopping sectors,” he said yesterday.


The Star Online reported yesterday that a study by the American publication International Living rated Malaysia’s healthcare system as the third best out of 24 countries in its 2014 Global Retirement Index, beating Spain, Italy, Ireland and New Zealand, among other countries.


The index, which was recently released by the Baltimore-based magazine, praised Malaysia’s healthcare, which scored 95 out of a possible 100 points, as the medical expertise of Malaysian healthcare practitioners is “equal to or better than what it is in most Western countries”, according to InternationalLiving.com’s Asia correspondent Keith Hockton.


The top two countries, France and Uruguay, scored 97 and 96 points, respectively.


On the methodology of the index’s ratings, the magazine said both the cost and quality of healthcare were evaluated.


Another report in International Medical Travel Journal News reported that medical tourism receipts in Malaysia from foreign patients totalled RM509.77mil in 2011 involving 578,403 patients.


Dr Subramaniam added that Malaysia remained competitive with players like Singapore and Thailand and the focus was to consolidate the country’s position.


He said the key towards improving the overall healthcare sector would be to focus on the preventive and primary healthcare divisions.



Earning the trust of foreign and local medical institution

The word “trust” is not like any other word; it gives a strong impact in one’s life especially in the medical devices industry. Trust has to be built and once it is achieved, it holds great power in helping one to expand his business anywhere. In order for local manufacturers to break into the international market, they will have to meet certain standards accepted by foreign buyers. This may sound difficult but there have been some local success stories which prove otherwise. It is important for local manufacturers to fully understand their target market first before stepping into the international medical devices industry.
According to Vigilenz Medical Devices Sdn Bhd Managing Director Shudipta Choudhury, different markets may have different standards, and so they may pose different challenges.


Read more here.

Doctors’ fees set to go up by 14%

Malaysia’s Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, has recently announced that doctors and specialists’ fees in private sectors are likely to go up by 14% if the hike is given green light by the Cabinet. He said that the Health Ministry carries out a revision once in every five years and is currently finalizing the revisions on dental charges before resenting the revised fee structure to the Cabinet for approval. This plan is expected to be presented to the Cabinet within this year. Even so, the implementation of the new fee structure is yet unknown.


Read more here

Training more specialist doctors

The health ministry is sponsoring some 800 doctors to pursue their studies in specific specialities of medicine to become specialists to ease the shortage for such professionals in the country. This current shortage needs to be addressed immediately to prevent an acute shortage in the future, according to Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.


Read more here.

Government moves to increase health science professionals

The Government is increasing access to education in health sciences to meet growing demand for professionals in the field. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in South-East Asia alone there was a shortage of 1.2 million healthcare professionals and it was expected to increase to 1.8 million in 2020. Hence the government will increase the capacity of higher learning institutions to take in students in the field from 55,000 in 2010 to 150,000 in 2020.


Read more here.

Specialist registry planned

It will soon be compulsory for some 5,000 specialist doctors to register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) under the latest amendments to the Medical Act 1971. The amended law calls for the creation of a specialist registry under the MMC.


Members of the public can now refer to the registry on the council’s website to find out if the doctor attending to them is a genuine specialist in their respective field or not. This registry would prevent cases of, for example, a cardiologists performing the task of an orthopaedist carrying out plastic surgery despite not being a specialist in that area.


Source: The Star (22nd April 2012)

Ministry emphasises quality of medical training

The Higher Education Ministry is very much aware of the  oversupply of doctors in the near future and there is no need to push the panic button.



Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said: “The question with training too many doctors in a short period of time, and the quality of the skills acquired by the doctor during their rushed training does not arise.


“Instead of stopping the medical training schemes, the ministry had been focusing on improving the quality of medical graduates despite the growing number.”He said the problem with having too many medical students was that each student would not get the necessary attention and exposure from their lecturers.


“To overcome this problem, the ministry has been working hard to ensure that each university that offers medical courses have their own medical training centre,” Saifuddin said.


Read more here.

More foreigners seeking treatment in Malaysia

The cosmetic surgery sector in Malaysia is booming with the increase of healthcare travellers coming to the country.


It is among the most sought-after medical specialisation by foreign patients along with the orthopaedics and cardiology sectors, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.He said international patients had expressed confidence in the quality of healthcare service in Malaysia, which was provided at reasonable cost.


Read more here.