KOTA KINABALU: Health Minister Datuk Sri Liow Tiong Lai said it was the government’s wish to see all specialist hospitals to be fully equipped with proper facilities and personnel.
Liow when replying to Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap’s question in the Dewan Negara, said within the next five years, under the 10th Malaysia Plan, the Health Ministry had plans to increase the number of neuro, cardiothoracic and urology surgeons serving in the general hospitals throughout the country.
A step taken to increase the number of these specialist surgeons is providing more sponsored places for the Masters programme in institutes of higher learning from 450 to 600 for the 2008/2009 session and from 600 to 800 for the 2010/2011 session.
According to Liow, this would provide ample opportunities for serving medical officers to enrol for the Masters programme.
The Health Ministry has also employed the services of foreign surgeons on contract basis, re-appointed retired specialists on contract basis, employed specialist doctors from the private sector on sessional basis and encouraging Malaysian specialists working abroad to return and serve the country.
Currently, there are 26 neurosurgeons, 18 cardiothoracic surgeons and 28 urology surgeons serving in the general hospitals in Malaysia, he added.
Maijol had earlier asked the Minister of Health if there were sufficient specialist surgeons in the country and what steps had been taken to ensure their number was at a satisfactory average.