KUALA LUMPUR: Public sector doctors should be allowed to refer patients direct to the Government’s National Health Welfare Fund (TKKK), Umno Youth public complaints unit head Datuk Subahan Kamal said.
He said that this should be done as red tape within the fund was making it difficult for poor patients to obtain swift financial aid for their medical conditions.
“When people want to apply for the fund, they need a government doctor’s letter. And when the doctor approves the case, like a baby needing a liver transplant, why can’t the doctor refer the patient straight to TKKK?
“It will be so much faster. Besides, this will cut down on fraud and also bureaucracy,” he told reporters yesterday during a cheque presentation ceremony to Puteri Nur Balqis Mohd Akhir, who needs a cochlea implant.
Subahan said that currently, patients who received the referral letter had to apply for aid from the fund themselves.
“It is illogical. If you want to do it, then do it properly,” he said, adding that the patients and families would then have to launch public donation drives and possibly not get enough money.
He also said that the fund should allocate money for those who needed it to purchase medical equipment aid such as hearing aids, lenses or prosthesis instead of just allocating money for operations.
He cited Puteri Nur Balqis’ case as an example as she was rejected by the fund.
Subahan also urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to beef up the public health sector’s human resources by having more specialists.
“Stop focussing on building “smart” hospitals. We urge him to get more experts. Channel allocation to acquire them and pay them well,” he added.
During the ceremony, three-year-old Puteri Nur Balqis received RM70,000 from Bank Rakyat to undergo the transplant, which costs RM80,000. Besides Bank Rakyat, Pusat Zakat Wilayah Persekutuan donated RM5,000 while Lion Group donated RM4,000.
Her father Mohd Akhir Din, 34, said words could not describe their happiness.
Puteri Nur Balqis was diagnosed with having neural sensory hearing disability in both ears when she was one-and a-half years old.
She will require audiology, speech and psychological therapy for about a year after the procedure.
Her mother Noorhayati Zainuddin, 29, said that Puteri Nur Balqis was an active girl.
She said her daughter loved to play with other children although they sometimes would get frustrated that they could not communicate with her.
“Sometimes, they end up making the same sounds as her. But they play with her anyway,” she added.