LETTER | The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is committed to and has been advocating the need to adhere to compulsory standards in ensuring that the health and safety of the public are maintained.
“Driving a motor vehicle is a complex task involving perception, appropriated judgement, adequate response time and reasonable physical capabilities. A range of medical conditions may impair one’s driving ability resulting in a crash causing injury or death. Medical conditions may have a potential impact on the driving ability of a person and if not addressed, this may prove dangerous to the public.
"Medical standards are required to assess certain conditions that may impair driving ability. These standards have been developed by an expert committee that has studied the needs and requirements of vocational drivers while also taking into consideration existing standards in many other countries." (Medical Examination Standards by Ministry of Health)
The Seventh Fee Schedule allows the general practitioners to charge anything between RM40 and a maximum fee of RM200 for fitness medical examination without investigations. The "Akta Fi" for the Ministry of Health facilities allows a Ministry of Health facility to charge RM100 for similar medical examinations without investigations. MMA initially proposed RM120 covering the amount of work involved, duration of time taken, heavy responsibility and medico-legal implications.
However, we agreed to the RM80 as a recommended figure for our members in order to help the mostly B40 drivers. The general practitioners who have been charging RM80 didn’t take advantage but exercised corporate social responsibility as the maximum fee under the fee schedule is RM200. We wish to remind the general practitioners to perform a thorough and complete medical examination and charge appropriately as stipulated in the fee schedule.
The revised and updated form for the vocational driving license which is comprehensive needs a thorough examination and consumes time. Unlike the previous form which is only a three-page simple examination, the revised form is nine pages and conforms to the current stringent standards that are required for drivers of commercial vehicles due to the potential detrimental threat to body and life.
The previous one-page renewal form was also subject for abuse and some doctors were charged by the MACC for signing without seeing patients in the past.
The MMA would like to remind the registered medical practitioners that for compromising his or her duty of care, they can be referred to the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) for neglect or disregard of professional responsibilities and can be tantamount to serious professional misconduct as per the code of professional conduct.
The doctors also shoulder heavy responsibility if any untoward accident happens due to negligence during their medical examination. The safety of drivers, passengers and road users safety is of utmost importance and should not be compromised.
The writer is president, Malaysian Medical Association.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.