Prospective doctors and specialists from Sabah will be encouraged to serve locally due to the shortage of staff in the state.
Sabah Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wong Tien Fatt said this was among the efforts taken by the state government to reduce the high doctor-patient ratio.
“Prospective Sabahan doctors and specialists can serve in Sabah, besides other doctors from Peninsular Malaysia,” he told reporters after a visit to the Kunak Hospital here.
He was commenting on the low number of visits of specialist physicians to rural hospitals, especially in Kunak, which was only once a month.
In the meantime, Stephen wants the federal Health Ministry to give priority to train medical officers from Sabah as a step towards improving the quality of health care services in the state.
Meanwhile, he said the issue of unpaid bills for foreigners at Sabah hospitals should be dealt with in a balanced manner without affecting the quality of treatment.
He said the initial steps taken to overcome the issue included ensuring that foreign patients paid half the total cost of treatment in advance.
“As a hospital, there are ethics to treat patients, but there are patients who cannot afford (the bills), and therefore we (the ministry) are still looking for a comprehensive solution to reduce the arrears,” he said.