WHILE the working class has medical benefits provided by their respective companies, those who do not, either have to rely on public healthcare or fork out money to seek medical attention at private hospitals and clinics.
A check by The Star showed that more people are turning to government hospitals and clinics for medical attention, only because it is affordable and advanced.
Most people like sundry shop owner Abu Bakar Ibramsha are of the opinion that the country’s public healthcare has improved by leaps and bounds in the last decade.
“In fact, medical equipment at government hospitals are even more advanced than those at private hospitals, which charge a bomb to treat patients.
“You get good medical attention and treatment, all for a mere RM2, as compared to private clinics, which charge easily RM50 per visit whereas private hospitals are known to rob people blind.
“Even the dental care provided by government dental clinics is good,” said the 54-year-old man, who frequents the 1Malaysia clinic in Bercham for all his ailments.
Abu Bakar said with the cost of healthcare and medicine on the rise, it was not possible for most people to seek treatment at private hospitals or clinics except in cases of emergencies or if one was covered by medical insurance.
Agreeing with Abu Bakar, fellow sundry shop owner, D. Thiagu, said treatment and medication provided by government hospitals and clinics were cheap but satisfactory.
“My only problem is the waiting time at government hospitals and clinics.
“To save myself the agony of waiting, I do not seek treatment unless I am very sick. Other times, I self-medicate.
“Of course in cases of emergency, it is impossible to wait and it is only in such times that I seek treatment at private hospitals or clinics.
“Expensive or not, there is no other choice,” he said.
Thiagu added that thankfully, his wife worked at a private hospital and she had medical benefits whereby their two children only had to pay half the price for treatment at the hospital.
“I would say, in this sense, we are more fortunate compared to others because healthcare can really burn a hole in your pocket,” he said.
Soybean seller Daniel Lee, 33, said his entire family sought treatment at government hospitals and clinics because it was cheap.
“My father was admitted into the intensive care unit at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh two years ago and I have seen with my own eyes that the medical equipment and facilities there are more complete and up to date.
“I think healthcare facilities provided by the government has improved in recent years, which is a blessing to those with limited financial resources.
“My entire family seeks treatment at government hospitals and clinics because we simply cannot afford otherwise.
“Of course, in the event of life and death, we cannot wait for hours at the government hospital to get treated but at all other times, our financial situation is our first consideration in choosing where to seek treatment,” he said.
Retired ship captain Heng Hee Nguan, 75, has been seeking treatment at government hospitals and clinics all his life because it is cheap and affordable.
“I think the services rendered are satisfactory if one is seeking treatment for minor ailments such as a cough or flu, more so with medical costs going up.
“However, patients with critical illnesses would be able to get better care and attention at private healthcare facilities, not because the specialists in government service are not good.
“Specialists in the government service are actually very good but they are swamped with too much work and have too many patients to see.
“There is no guarantee that one would be able to see a specialist during their every visit,” he added.
Perhaps Heng is only but a few who does not mind waiting at government hospitals and clinics.
“I don’t mind the wait because even at private hospitals, one has to wait,” he said.