KLANG: Private hospitals will be allowed to carry out organ transplants if they meet the criteria set by the government, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic).
He said that in principle there was there was nothing that can stop the private hospitals from carrying out organ transplants if they had people with adequate qualifications and accreditation to do the job.
"If they have the facilities to manage the hospital appropriately so that there's no complications, have the supporting team to help do the transplants effectively and follow the ethical procedures outlined by the ministry, there shouldn't be any reason why we shouldn't allow them," said Dr Subramaniam.
He said this at a press conference after attending the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Chennai Silk Palace textile outlet here.
The government imposed a ruling in 2012 that private facilities undertaking transplants must have a permanent transplant team.
This followed the death of a transplant patient in a private hospital.
However, this is not a viable option for private hospitals, as the number of transplant cases does not justify the expense of hiring a full transplant team on a permanent basis.
Dr Subramaniam said he will be talking about the matter with the Health Ministry's director-general to find out more about the rulings pertaining to private hospitals and organ transplants.
He added he would also obtain the full report on the death that had occurred in the private hospital.
"I am sure this death was fully investigated and there is probably some reason to give us concerns as to whether private hospitals have adequate facilities to be able to do transplants properly," said Dr Subramaniam.
He reiterated if private hospitals were able to fulfil the criteria set by the Health Ministry, they should be allowed to carry out organ transplants.
"Historically we have been allowing them to do it and the (first) liver transplant was done at a private hospital and they have been doing renal transplants for a long time," said Dr Subramaniam.
He said he would find out if the 'ban' was permanent or temporary and issue a statement soon.
Sunday Star highlighted the matter recently, as well as the plight of people requiring transplants who had to go overseas for their surgeries to stay alive due to the Health Ministry ruling.
On another matter, Dr Subramaniam said he hoped the government would give his ministry a bigger allocation in the 2016 budget.
He said the Health Ministry always asked for a big allocation but has never received what it requested.
"We got about 8.8% of the total budget last year (for 2015) and hope to get a bit more this year ( for next year)," said Dr Subramaniam.
He added the Health Ministry would be focusing on preventative measures and primary medical care with the allocation under the 2016 budget.