Special counters for chronic patients


  • Nation
  • Friday, 25 Jun 2004

BY AUDREY EDWARDS

PETALING JAYA: Separate counters for patients with chronic diseases, the disabled and senior citizens will be set up at all government hospitals as part of the Health Ministry’s efforts to reduce waiting time. 

Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said all government hospitals would have special counters for patients with chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes as such illnesses made up for about 30% of outpatient cases at the hospitals. 

“There will also be a special clinic for chronic diseases so that the patients are not mixed up with others. Patients will be given dates for their follow-up treatment,” he said after opening the 12th International Healthcare Conference here yesterday. 

Senior citizens, pregnant women, children and the disabled will also have special counters in stages, he added. 

Dr Chua said the Cabinet had agreed on the measures, including the move to ensure it takes only up to 90 minutes for a patient to register, receive treatment and get his medication.  

Dr Chua said hospitals and polyclinics would set up their task force next month to carry out the measures. 

“Records will be more systematic so that patients who come frequently will be separated from those who rarely come.  

“This is to make it easier to look for their records and cut waiting time by 20 to 30 minutes,” he said, adding that information and communication technology would be used, including at the pharmacies. 

Dr Chua announced new rates for foreigners, excluding those working in the plantation sector, who sought treatment at government establishments – RM15 (up from RM2) and RM60 for specialist treatment (up from RM3). 

The increase was made because those seeking outpatient treatment made up 3.8% of the hospital patients while in some states like Sabah and Sarawak, the percentage was up to 10% daily. 

Doctors would also be encouraged to work in the accident and emergency department after office hours for RM30 per hour. 

“All these are to optimise human resources and make human resources management more flexible,” Dr Chua said.  

He said “serious attention” would be given to improving the outpatient department.  

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