Doctors who fail to comply with the guidelines from the Health Ministry to detect the Influenza A (H1N1) infection much earlier will be called up by the Health Ministry for an explanation so that the problem would not recur.

The Director-General of Health Services, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the investigation was not meant to penalise the doctors concerned but to understand why they did not comply with the guidelines.

For this purpose, he said the Director of the Disease Control Division, Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman would instruct a team to question the doctors concerned to get further information on the medical examinations carried out.

“If there are doctors who still don’t adhere to the guidelines issued by the ministry, we will call up the doctors concerned, ask them whether they understand (the guidelines issued).

“Some of them may not understand, so I will call them. Like in the case who died within 24 hours (first death of H1N1), he saw the doctor and after one hour, he died. So I want to find out from the doctor, did he examine the patient? And if so, why is it not recorded in the outpatient department (OPD) card? How can a patient collapse just like that?” he said.

Dr Mohd Ismail said all doctors must also have their own computers with internet facilities to ensure that they kept abreast with current developments on the infection, particularly directives issued by the ministry on the matter.

“I was told that some doctors don’t even own a computer, so please buy a computer, hook on to the internet and visit our (ministry’s) website so that they will be up to date in the management of their patients, and it is not just for H1N1, it is for continual professional development (CPD).

“Find out what are the things that you need to do, be aware of things like guidelines about tamiflu, about wearing mask, about treating patients, everything is there. There is no excuse for people to say they do not know anything,” he said.

Dr Mohd Ismail said this when asked about the action to be taken against doctors who failed to adhere to the guidelines on examining Influenza A (H1N1) as stipulated by the Meeting of the Technical Committee on the Influenza A (H1N1) Wednesday.

The guidelines which, among other things, stated that all severe cases of pneumonia for which a throat swab was required to be taken for Influenza A (H1N1) tests and antiviral treatment given, were issued because there were doctors who failed to detect the ailment in the four fatal cases of Influenza A (H1N1) recorded earlier.

Asked whether the investigation was carried out in the four fatal cases earlier, Dr Mohd Ismail said so far the doctors concerned were only given reminders, and further action would depend on the subsequent developments.

He also said doctors could not refuse to see patients with influenza like illness (ILI) on their second visit, and the patients could actually insist on being tested for Influenza A (H1N1) on their second visit, if they had not recovered from their flu.

When asked about a case in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), where a patient suffering from asthma and suspected to be infected with H1N1 was asked to go home and rest instead, Dr Mohd Ismail said he would bring the matter up with HKL.