SUBANG - It will soon be compulsory for some 5,000 specialist doctors to register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) under the latest amendments to the Medical Act 1971.
The amended law calls for the creation of a specialist registry under the MMC.
"Members of the public can refer to the registry on the council's website to find out if the doctor attending to them is a genuine specialist in their respective field," Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said after launching the Health Clinic Advisory Council seminar yesterday.
He said the registry would prevent cases of cardiologists performing the task of an orthopaedist or a dermatologist carrying out plastic surgery despite not being a specialist in that area.
However, he said the registry would not prevent a specialist from registering as a multi-medical expert if he or she was qualified.
Liow also said that about 35,000 doctors would have to renew their annual practising licence that would also include a point-based system to ensure that they keep abreast of the latest medical developments.
"For example, they will have to attend seminars or conventions to show that they keep abreast of the latest developments and consistently acquire new knowledge," he said.
He warned that doctors who failed to renew their annual licence for a period of six years would be barred from practice and would be required to sit for a test before a new licence was issued.
He said the new regulations were among the amendments to the Medical Act 1971 that had been tabled in Parliament earlier last week and expected to be passed at the next sitting.
On a separate matter, Liow said the role of 661 health clinic advisory councils would be expanded to oversee community-based health programmes for about 2,000 village clinics throughout the country.
He said the councils, made up of 9,896 volunteers, had received RM3.5mil for various programmes.
Liow added that RM12mil had also been set aside for health carnivals at the district and village levels.