Friday June 15, 2007
Health Minister calls for better patient-doctor communiction
PETALING JAYA: Lack of patient-doctor communication is one of the common basis of complaints received from patients and their loved ones, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
The Health Minister said he had received many complaints from the public of frontliners in hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions not providing enough information about the condition of their loved ones.
"At least 75% of complaints from the public point to the frontliners of medical institutions, while the remaining complaints are a result of doctors not communicating effectively with their patients.
"For example, when an emergency patient is being warded or resuscitated, their loved ones wait anxiously outside the ward without being briefed or told about what is happening.
"A simple act of updating them would give much needed assurance and relief," he said.
Dr Chua urged for medical practitioners and frontliners to identify communication as an important prerequisite.
He added that this would also provide a patients with the opportunity to express their concerns and needs.
"First and foremost, a doctor must understand their patient's condition, and the best way to do that is to communicate.
"The patient needs to be put as the centre of control, where the doctor will organise a system around the patient, rather than organising the system around themselves," said Dr Chua after opening the 64th Malaysian Dental Association Annual General Meeting here on Friday.
In his speech, Dr Chua said the country had made great strides in the field of dentistry in the past 50 years, in terms of technology and with more than 2,900 registered dental practitioners in the country.
He added that Government dental facilities had also increased tremendously over the years, equipped with more than 3,000 dental units which have brought oral health services to 95.5% of primary schools and 76% of secondary schools.
"In the face of such myriad advances in dental technology, knowledge and skills, dentists need to choose technologies that are best suited to the type of patients they're seeing.
"Good oral health should no longer be the privilege of a few, but a right for all," he said.
He also stressed the need for the nation to produce more dentists to fulfil the ideal ratio of one dentist to four thousand patients.
The ratio now is at one dentist to nine thousand patients.
The Minister however, was confident that this number would be met in a span of five years.
"Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), the Government has allocated a budget of RM165mil to the construction of mobile dental clinics and upgrading of dental clinics.
"Right now, with all these facilities in place, what the nation really needs is to produce more capable and qualified dentists," he said.