DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH MALAYSIA
UNREGISTERED MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS
- I refer to the letters to the Editor of The Star titled ‘MMC must act on complaints’, by Doctor, Kuala Lumpur on 21 August 2015 and ‘Keep an eye on night clinics’, by Concerned, Kuala Lumpur dated 17 August 2015. I wish to thank the writers for highlighting these issues of our concern.
- Over the past 3 years, there have been 7 medical practitioners brought before the Council for hiring unqualified personnel to run their clinics, of which 4 were found guilty and have been reprimanded and suspended from practice, with the latest being in June 2015.
- The Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) would like to emphasise that together we have to be vigilant of unqualified personnel practising as doctors and to report accordingly to the Medical Practice Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia and MMC. A recently concluded 341st MMC meeting recorded its concern on the employment of unqualified personnel as locums in medical clinics, which is against the Medical Act 1971 as it compromises the quality and safety of care provided to patients. The Medical Act 1971 stipulates that any medical practitioner must be registered with MMC before being able to practice medicine legally in Malaysia. This allows MMC to ensure that the Malaysian public receives competent and safe medical care.
- MMC appreciates the information and complaints lodged by the public of any unqualified personnel practicing in any clinic, and rest assured due investigation will be carried out and action taken in accordance to the provision of the Medical Act 1971. These unregistered persons include those who do not have any medical qualifications at all or those who possess a medical qualification but are not eligible for registration with the Council. There have been instances whereby the owner of the clinics were duped into believing that a particular locum applicant is registered after being shown forged registration documents and forged annual practicing certificates (APC).
- The onus is on the doctor or the person in charge of the clinic, to ensure that the employed doctor is a qualified and registered medical practitioner, and in possession of a valid APC. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the doctors in charge of the premises involved in employing unqualified or unlicensed persons have violated the Code of Professional Conduct, and thus the Medical Act 1971, and are liable to disciplinary punishment by the Council.
- As such, all medical practitioners are called upon to properly verify the qualification and the registration status of any doctor to be employed in their clinic, and to make sure that they practice in accordance to what is stipulated in their APCs, failing which they may be construed as violating the provision in the Code of Professional Conduct and the Medical Act 1971.
DATUK DR NOOR HISHAM ABDULLAH
Director General of Health Malaysia, and
President of the Malaysian Medical Council
23 August 2015