I REFER to the the letter, “Making space at hospitals” (StarMetro, Dec 13).
The Health director-general explained at great lengths the congestion in government hospitals in the Klang Valley and other state specialist hospitals. Increased demand has been cited as the main cause. This has been countered by the construction of more hospitals. This appears rationale.
However, the letter lamented that the increase in the number of beds was unable to keep up with the demand.
It would be good to know whether in the areas mentioned, the norms (bed-population ratio) have been exceeded or otherwise.
This will provide a better picture of the actual requirement and the public will know whether there is bed adequacy or shortfall in their areas.
The letter also mentioned a high bed occupancy of 85% in some hospitals. If occupancy by ward is analysed, there are wards that have 120% occupancy and there are wards that have low occupancy (less than 50%).
To ease the congestion, scarce beds should be re-allocated or shared until more beds are put into circulation.
From another perspective, the type of cases in the ward needs to be analysed — whether there are chronic cases occupying acute beds.
The Healthy Ministry should look into the alternatives for chronic long-term conditions. This will ease the congestion and, at the same time, decrease healthcare cost.
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