Increase in consultation fees should not be higher than inflation rate - CAP

Audrey Dermawan

GEORGE TOWN: Leading consumer group, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), has urged Health Ministry to exercise caution over the proposal to raise the consultation fees of doctors in private clinics.

Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris said consumers are already burdened by rising cost of living, and any drastic increase in medical fees will deter them from seeking medical treatment, which may then lead to more severe health consequences.

“Any increase in consultation fees should not be higher than the rate of inflation. It should be noted that medical inflation in Malaysia is one of the highest in the region.

“As such, the ministry should practise caution in raising medical fees,” he said today.

A report last year claimed Malaysia’s healthcare inflation was 11.5 per cent in 2016 and rose to 12.7 per cent last year, higher than the Asian average of 10.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, Idris stressed that it should also be mandatory for doctors to provide itemised billing that separates consultation fee and medicines cost.

“There should not be any mark up on the price of medicines since doctors fee comes from consultation.

“Consumers have a right to know how much they are paying for consultation and medicines, so they can exercise their choice of getting medication from the pharmacist,” he added.

It was reported that the consultation fees of medical practitioners at private clinics and hospitals may go up by between RM30 and RM125.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar had said that the current consultation fees of between RM10 and RM35 had not been revised for nearly 12 years.

He had also said that the proposal to review the rate was supported by medical practitioners and consumer organisations.

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), president S.M. Mohamed Idris. - NSTP FILE PIC

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