THIS letter is in response to the “Napping A&E doctors” incident that has been in the limelight recently. Being a doctor myself, I can’t help but be a little biased towards my fellow colleagues in HKL.

Your article “Liow: Doc did not do anything wrong” (The Star, April 30) pretty much cleared the matter once and for all. But the damage has been done. Imagine how upset and sad these doctors would have felt when they were blindly accused of not doing their job.

To add salt to the wound, the Deputy Federal Territory Minister chose to go straight to the media and sensationalise the issue before investigating the matter first. He should be responsible for his actions and apologise to the doctors involved.

He has indirectly defamed them by accusing them of neglecting their duties when all they did was take a breather in between their hectic schedule. Doesn’t everyone take a short break every now and then? Aren’t we all human?

This incident has really taken a sour turn and many of us government doctors can’t help but vent our frustrations. As it is, we are already facing long and demanding working hours, poor salary in comparison with colleagues in other professions, and having to sacrifice our family time all in the name of service to the people.

Yes, being a doctor is about serving the people but bear in mind that we are human too.

I would also like to urge the Government to help smoothen the flow at the various accident and emergency units in the hospitals across the country. The term “Accident and Emergency” is self-explanatory. Why then do we see patients coming to these units to check on a lump on their finger that had been there for the past five years or other non-urgent complaints like that?

There are many government clinics that have been set up to cater for those kind of complaints. Furthermore, there are certain clinics which have been offering extended clinic hours for the benefit of the people. The A&E unit is certainly not a place for the public to get a fast track to medical attention for complaints that don’t fall into the life-threatening or urgent category.

The public complain that they have to wait long before they are seen by a doctor. But if we get so many patients coming in to the A&E with non-urgent cases, obviously there will be a backlog and a long waiting period. After all, these are the patients whom the doctors will spend most time with as they would want to examine them thoroughly.

Please don’t get me wrong here. I agree that doctors in government service have much room for improvement. However, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, let’s work together and do our part to solve such problems, regardless whether we are a top government official, a member of the public or a government doctor.

Kota Kinabalu.

Your can found this article on the front page of The Star Online on 1/5/2009. Very GOOD article Dr.Musa Ashaari (DMA).