January 15, 2010 19:58 PM

No Surplus Of Doctors In Public Sector By 2015

PETALING JAYA, Jan 15 (Bernama) -- There will be no surplus of doctors in the public sector by 2015 as there is still a shortage of between 14,000 and 15,000 doctors from the 25,000 needed, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

While some 3,000 new medical graduates enter the workforce yearly, an average of 300 to 400 doctors quit the public sector for greener pastures each year.

Liow said that as at September last year, only 63.7 per cent of the 24,241 posts for medical doctors in the ministry were filled while only 58.5 per cent of 3,800 posts for specialists were taken.

"We view this situation seriously, so various efforts have been made, including cooperating closely with the Public Service Commission and Public Service Department to expedite filling the vacancies for doctors in the public sector," he told reporters at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar), here, Friday.

He said the ministry would continue to find initiatives to improve the situation such as offering better incentives like promotion opportunities to keep doctors in the service.

He said considering that Malaysia was still a developing country, the fear of some quarters including professional bodies of a surplus of doctors by 2015 was not fully justified.

"As Malaysia advances and becomes increasingly developed, the ideal doctor to population ratio for the country will shift lower to accommodate the expected higher demand of the population for more personalised and better quality medical care.

"The doctor density will also need to increase to accommodate the increasing specialisation and sub-specialisation of medical practice," he added.

Liow said Malaysia was also expected to achieve the one doctor to 600 population ratio by 2015 from the existing 1:1,105, an improvement from 1:8,229 in 1957 when the nation gained independence.


Source: Bernama, 15 Jan 2010