Medical News Roundup for 2018

How quickly a year ends, and what a year 2018 has been. For the Malaysian Health and Medical sector there have been quite a number of major milestones achieved and some stunning news as well.
Before we begin, please note that you can stay up to date with Malaysian Medical News if you follow us on Twitter @MyMedicalRsrc, or the news channel on Telegram, @malaysianhealth – the Telegram channel is where you can scroll or search through all the previously shared news . You may also regularly visit our website https://medicine.com.my where the news are located in the front page.

So let’s begin with our pick of the news for 2018:

The year began brightly with Good news for medical specialists in govt service

Medical specialists in government hospitals and health institutes can from now on work four days a week and use the additional day off to work or teach in the private sector.
They can also use the day off to do industry-sponsored research endorsed by the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the new ruling which took effect on Jan 1 was among others to prevent these specialists from leaving government service to join the private sector.

The rate of specialists leaving public service is still increasing annually
It’s not just the private sector but as Doctors facing dim prospects at home, venture abroad and it was reported there are over 1,500 Malaysian doctors working in the UK public sector . It’s not necessarily for financial gain, but to improve oneself, doctors also seek to train abroad, but it’s a catch-22 situation if Unpaid leave is not granted.

On the technology front, the Health Ministry proudly announced a Made-in-Malaysia stethoscope which is the world’s first to be AI-equipped

Early in the year, East Malaysia was tackling a rabies outbreak. Despite vaccinating all dogs, it’ll be a challenge as animals may not respect borders.

The MMC held elections by postal ballot which turned out to be a bit of a disaster (again) as many doctors did not receive the ballot papers either on time or not at all. Let’s hope MMC can improve in this area in the future!

On the post graduate front, Malaysia hosted the first ever external Cardiothoracic Surgery exam outside the UK in February of this year.

The MOH launched the Traditional and complementary medicine blueprint 2018-2027 . We worry while the MOH continues on this slippery slope of TCM, that patients with serious illnesses like Cancer continue to seek “Alternative healthcare” as a first option, leading to many presenting too late, in advanced stages of cancer,for correct treatment.

A news item that there are still Clinics without doctors and power supply, highlights the health service deficiencies in East Malaysia. In Sabah however, “sick” hospitals have apparently been rehabilitated.

In April 2018, the Parliament passed the Dental Bill 2017
Also in April, the then BN Government announced a Voluntary insurance scheme for B40 group, with little details known about the scheme.
April was of course election fever month in the run up to the coming General Elections though a think-tank exclaimed that BN & PH manifestos were lacking in healthcare provisions

Malaria was in the news again and Monkey malaria infecting humans could find ground zero in Malaysia.

In April, the MMC published Revised guidelines to the CPD/CME Grading system , just under three months before the enforcement of the new medical regulations which makes CPD compulsory for doctors.

The biggest news for Malaysia was the stunning defeat of BN in GE-14 resulting in a new Government formed in Putrajaya. The day after 9/5, the incumbent Health Minister graciously accepted defeat. We had to wait a while more, till the new Health Minister was announced by the PH Government – Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
The return of the 94 year old Tun Dr M as Prime Minster set new standards for retirement and the NST reminded us If you take care of your health, you can be as fit as Dr M
With a new Government there is much hope for the future of the nation, and doctors like fellow Malaysians, hold the same hope for a better Malaysia, as exemplified by the Prescription for the nation by Prof Adeeba.
The new Health Minister, who faces numerous challenges, was quick to spring into action, asking for more allocations. He also announced the setting up of a Health Advisory Council. You can view more on Dr Dzul’s vision in Youtube

In June, the Health Minister vowed to take action to end glut of doctors, nurses. Though we dare say the “glut of doctors” is somewhat artificial due to the shortage of posts in the Health ministry (MMA calls for more training hospitals, houseman slots), affects more junior doctors than seniors, and also does not take into account the imbalance in rural-urban distribution of man power.
Six healthcare quality measures were announced and we shall see how this fares in the coming year. The 1Malaysia Clinics for a start are to be revamped, and to be re-branded as Community Clinics. There are to be no more “instant noodle” programmes.

Abuse of junior doctors came to light when the DG advised the public not to speculate on ‘nightmare’ specialist case. This prompted us to conduct an online survey in our Doctors community, DOBBS, on the extent of bullying experienced. The results of the survey showed that almost 80% of respondents reported experiencing bullying. YBMoH declared that the Health Ministry wants to end ‘toxic work culture’, starting holding closed-door dialogues with junior doctors. Junior doctors are disinclined to report bullying and Complainant confidentiality must be ensured, says MMA.
The MMA runs a support service for doctors in distress. Doctors in need can call Helpdoc at 03-4041 1140.
The height of bullying took a dark turn when it was revealed there were Sex predators in the medical profession but we think the latter is much less a problem than bullying in general.

July 1 was the landmark date when the new medical regulations were enforced on practitioners, requiring compulsory CPD points to be achieved and possessing medical indemnity before one could apply for the APC. We have been continuously blogging about this and also mentioning it in the DOBBS forums so doctors have no excuse not to be aware.

While there has been much harping about private-public health care cooperation, the writer nailed in in the head when he emphasized the problem of higher fees imposedd on patients being referred to public hospitals from the private sector. We hope MOH will take a serious look into this, while mulling price controls on medicine.

The B40 insurance protection scheme continued to be mooted by the new Government whereas the MMA made a call for health insurance for all

There was a bit of kerfuffle in the social media and the press took it up regarding ward rounds being conducted in “dialect”. The MOH clarified that ward rounds should be held only in BM and English.

The other rule which is going to affect tons of smokers which created a little ruckus – No smoking at outdoor restaurants from December – postponed now to January 1. Let’s see how this is enforced.

I think we shall wrap it up for now. Please don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Telegram for the latest medical news.

For doctors, please join us in the over 16,000 strong Malaysian doctors community DOBBS. Joining is free, please visit https://dobbs.my to learn how to register and partticipate to engage with your colleagues online.

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