So just how do you find a reliable doctor? (part II)


This is a continuation from the original post So just how do you find a reliable doctor? and made as a comment to the Star’s recent article Five questions to ask your GP as a “guide” to choosing your GP.

I’ll dissect the points brought up :
1) Location
OK this is reasonable but as Malaysians have a free choice, they can have their cake and eat it – i.e. have a regular GP near work (often a “panel doctor”) as well as near home.

2) Gender
I don’t think this is an issue for most patients, with the exception of O&G where women specialists are more popular.

3) Compatibility
The author forgot the issue of language and communication. In multi-lingual and multi-racial Malaysia, this is still a major issue and patients will gravitate to doctors who can communicate well with them. A good dose of empathy helps too.

4) Affordability
This isn’t so much an issue if it is a “panel doctor” and your company is paying or if you have health insurance (which we hope you do)

5) Competence
How do you do a background check? Asking around the neighbourhood is not a good enough. I’ll repost what I mentioned earlier on how to research your doctor:

Research your doctor. Is your doctor qualified from a reputable medical school? What year was he registered with the MMC (Malaysian Medical Council which is the body overseeing the registration of doctors in Malaysia)? You can do so by checking with the MMC Medical Register.
In the case of GPs some have gone for higher training in family medicine and may have post-graduate qualifications like Masters of Family Medicine, or gone through the rigorous MAFP/FRACGP (Member of Academy of Family Physician of Malaysia/Fellow of Royal Australian College of General Practitioners) post-basic training. These higher qualifications are not yet compulsory in Malaysia to be a GP but in the future they might. In any case if your family doctor has one, you can be assured he or she has undergone additional exposure. Even if he or she does not, do not forget many experienced GPs have undergone training in the school of hard knocks with years of experience behind them.
In the case of specialists, the Government has set up a National Specialists Register, and in the near future will be compulsory as well for specialists. Criteria for registration are specific and follow professional and peer recognised qualifications. You can search for accredited specialists in the NSR website but not all specialists are on the register as of this point in time.
Lastly you could rely on Google and online forums but bear in mind the doctor’s “online presence” may not be truly reflective of his skills and expertise.


For doctors, do be aware that increasingly patients are researching you online. It’s vital that you take steps now to protect your online reputation. A Dobber recently posted an update on our Activity Page a link on how a Doctor can improve his Online reputation. The Dobbs Activity wall btw, is like a Facebook wall but it’s exclusively for Malaysian doctors. Not a member of Dobbs? Join today for free!


Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast