A SYSTEM where patients are required to pay the full cost of treatment at government hospitals instead of being subsidised is being considered, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
The Health Ministry is studying the possibility of introducing a category of patients known as 'full paying patient' in government hospitals as one way to ease the government's financial burden.
This is to also to ensure that patients who can afford it will pay the appropriate treatment costs without getting the subsidy, he said yesterday when winding up for Budget 2005.
He was responding to Teresa Kok (DAP Seputeh) who voiced concern over whether patients would have to pay more once private wings in government hospitals were established.
Medical specialists and other staff involved in treating the patient would get part of the treatment charges as a way to increase their income and retain them in the government service.
Dr Abdul Latiff said the Government currently subsidised 98% of health treatment costs and was unable to continue footing the bill as costs continue to rise.
On preventive measures against the bird flu, he said the ministry would monitor a 1km radius of any household that had infected chickens, and any individual having flu symptoms would be sent to hospital for treatment.
Health Alert Cards are distributed to residents staying within this zone to remind them of the dangers of influenza.
Health education is also carried out in the affected areas. We also emphasised preventive steps to ward against infection, he said, adding that the ministry would step up surveillance of all government and private facilities especially in Kelantan for people with flu-like symptoms.
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