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PUBLISHED: Jul 11, 2015 9:00am

Doctors’ workload has actually declined, says former Health Minister

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FERNANDO FONG By:
Fernando Fong

Former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek says the workload for doctors has actually reduced because there are more doctors now, although he admits there's still shortage for certain specialists. - Pic taken from www.facebook.com/ChuaSoiLek

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 11, 2015: 

Former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said house officers and medical officers were having it easier nowadays compared with how things were before.

He pointed out that some junior doctors in government hospitals did not even have patients to attend to.

“The workload has actually reduced because there are more doctors now, although there is still shortage for certain specialists.

“For example, housemen in those days had to clock between 10 to 20 patients, but now they only need to take care of three patients a day,” he said The Rakyat Post when contacted.

He said that medical officers and house officers used to often work as long as 36 hours straight when ‘on call’ (on standby), but now they are likely to get the next day off or lesser workloads.

Dr Chua, who had served as a medical officer at the Batu Pahat Hospital, said he had also worked 36 hours straight himself.

The former MCA president was responding to requests to comment on the passing of Dr Nur Afifah Mohd Ghazi, an anesthesiologist from Sungai Buloh Hospital.

The 27-year-old died tragically in an accident in Sungai Buloh while returning home from the hospital on June 8.

While netizens pointed to a heavy workload as a potential cause of the accident, Dr Chua said he would not jump to such a conclusion.

He pointed out that more people were also turning to private hospitals despite the higher costs involved, even for simple medical procedures, as they could afford to pay.

Dr Chua was known for being outspoken and his hands-on work at the Health Ministry.

He was also credited for bringing positive changes to the Health Ministry when he assumed the Cabinet post in 2004, such as directing all district-level hospital directors and health officers to do clinical work.

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