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RTD should have own medical panel
Published on: Sunday, March 05, 2017

By Fed up
THE recent incident where seven doctors were arrested for allegedly issuing medical certificates for renewing public service vehicle (PSV) licences without conducting any examination is a big blow to the medical fraternity, and especially to the pool of general physicians.

This is definitely the wrong thing to do but do we even realise that it isn’t the first time it is happening?

Time and again, we have seen so many similar cases happening that it is like an act stuck in an unbreakable vicious cycle.

Let the law do its part on the doctors who were involved in the scam. My intention here is not to pass judgement on them or question the rule of law.

Instead, I would like to pose a question to the Transport Ministry and the Road Transport Department (RTD): What has been done to ensure such action will not recur?

I have personally handled cases where patients walked into my clinic for the first time to get their application form for Goods Drivers’ Licence (GDL) signed. Mind you, all they had was a single piece of A4 paper (photocopy quality) and they asked me to sign at the Akuan Doktor column without even stepping into my consultation room.

I stressed to them that there is a specific form (Borang JPJ L8A) when it comes to medical examinations, and signing on this one piece of A4 paper is not what I as a doctor would do.

Some patients responded aggressively because they felt a medical examination was not required and that a signature was enough.

To top it off, some patients walked in denying all their medical conditions, claiming they were as fit as a fiddle. No doubt medical examinations like blood pressure monitoring or Urine Full Examination Microscopy Elements (UFEME) may be normal, but doctors aren’t lie detectors. Vital parameters we obtain from counting the applicant’s pulse rate, measuring his blood pressure, height and weight, or checking his eyesight are not sufficient to conclude if a patient is safe to hold a licence.

I would like to suggest here, not for the benefit of doctors or the applicants but rather for the public’s safety, that the RTD have its own doctors to verify the safety of the applicants. Why not handle it the way insurance companies do for loan applicants?

Restructure the medical examination plan so that it is not just based on clinical assessment but also proceed with blood investigations, ECG and X-ray wherever needed.

Trace the medical records of applicants to know if they are medically fit. Do this every year because the medical condition of an individual is not static; it is dynamic. If it is difficult to get doctors in your camp, get the physicians outside to perform all clinical and medical examinations and have the forms collected by RTD-assigned despatchers.

The decision for approving or disallowing a person from getting a licence must be put in the hands of the doctors and the RTD, upon reviewing the finding of the physicians and results of the investigations.

This may sound like a hassle for the RTD and applicants but again this has the safety of the public in mind.

There is no point shouting out this proposal if no one wants to take the step ahead.

If we see similar incidents happening every year, something must be done even lithe process is going to be tedious.

I believe some of my comrades may be fuming at this suggestion but for the sake of our reputations, and the value of our practice, we have to stand firm or our kind will fall again and be the black sheep.

Fed up

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