KUALA LUMPUR: Police issued a scam alert ‘Beware of Fake Doctors’, last month which was also shared on the Public Health Malaysia Facebook page.
The term ‘fake doctor’ according to the Health Ministry refers to medical or dental practitioners who are not registered with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) or the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC).
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said fake doctors were categorised into three groups, namely individuals not registered with the MMC and MDC and practicing at unregistered health facilities without licence, those who were not accredited and individuals who used the title ‘doctor’ without a valid certificate.
For individuals providing modern or alopatic medical care, they do so at an unregistered or unlicensed premises, while individuals who are not qualified will provide health care services at private health care facilities licensed or registered with the Health Ministry.
“The third group are individuals who use the title ‘doctor’ to give the impression that they are medical doctors by profession with the intention to sell products or gain the customers’ trust,” Noor Hisham told Bernama.
Over the years there have been reports on the activities of individuals, posing as doctors and even offering low-cost dental services in hotels, which can endanger the lives of those who are being treated.
According to Health Ministry statistics, 28 cases were recorded in 2018 involving certified doctors or licence holders against whom action was taken for hiring unregistered doctors, while the number of cases last year dropped by half recording 14 cases.
These cases, though not many, are enough to cause anxiety because if not given the right medical treatment it could cause harm and endanger the patient’s life.
Dr Noor Hisham said various factors were believed to drive uncertified individuals to open clinics or provide health care services, among them were lucrative returns, as well as high demand from the people for quick and cheap medical or dental care.
Other factors are the costs of treatment at private health care facilities which were considered expensive or not covered by insurance, lengthy waiting time at the public healthcare centres, lack of awareness of the dangers and implications of receiving treatment from untrained individuals and believing advertisements.
As such, he said the public can check the registration status of medical doctors via the MMC portal at http://mmc.moh.gov.my/index.php (click on the ‘Medical Register’ icon) and for dentists via the MDC portal at http://mdc.moh.gov.my/ (click on the ‘Search for dental practitioners’ icon). Meanwhile guidelines and list of certified doctors for aesthetic and cosmetic surgery, can be downloaded via the Health Ministry’s portal at http://www.moh.gov.my/images/gallery/Garispanduan.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department’s Prosecution and Law Division (D5) principal assistant director SAC Mior Faridalathrash Wahid called on the public to report any individuals suspected of masquerading as medical doctors.