Aged Healthcare Bill in final stages

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 11 Dec 2016

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry wants to help old folks home operators comply with the proposed Aged Healthcare Act before the enforcement kicks in.

An agency offering “free advice” may be set up under the ministry, its deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said.

On Oct 16, Sunday Star front paged the ministry’s new law to put a stop to squalid conditions in old folks homes by punishing operators that provide inadequate care and facilities for their residents.

Dr Jeyaindran said the proposed agency would develop good rapport between operators and regulators.

Both, he said, wanted the same thing – delivery of healthcare to the aged while ensuring their safety.

Singapore, he said, had a similar agency to guide and monitor operators during a two-year grace period for them to comply with its new law.

“Operators here will also be given time to comply, but we want to make sure they know what to do when the Act is in place.

“For example, they must know about the compulsory courses for their staff to attend and the required ratio of nurses and caregivers.

“It’s a big move so we want to help make the implementation of the Act go as smoothly as possible,” he said, adding that the Bill was in the final stages of scrutiny and would be tabled in Parliament next year.

The country’s growing aging population, he said, had taken a huge toll on the ministry’s resources.

Although RM24bil – a 10% increase from 2016, was allocated to the Health Ministry in Budget 2017, the amount was only enough to offset the 15% to 20% increase in patient load, especially among the elderly who take longer to recover.

“Seniors occupy hospital beds longer. And some 25% of the elderly patients who are warded, don’t need to be.

“For example, a diabetic doesn’t need to be warded next to a pneumonia patient just because he has a wound that needs dressing,” he added.

The Government, he said, spent between RM500 and RM1,000 daily on warded patients depending on the severity of their illness.

The amount was for the hospital’s operational cost such as staffing, medications, food and utilities.

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