PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry’s move towards a more formalised collaboration with the private healthcare sector would be beneficial to all if details were ironed out, said Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia.
Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said a closer partnership between the public and private healthcare sectors would be advantageous to both parties.
“For the government, they do not need to pump in such heavy investment into buying expensive equipment.
“They could use equipment from private hospitals.
“For the private hospitals, they are able to reap returns from alternative sources for their equipment and specialists.
“For patients with chronic illnesses, they are able to enjoy a high quality of care at private hospitals,” he said.
Patients also need not have to wait for ages to undergo MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans or chest X-rays, he said, adding this may be the case in congested public hospitals.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad reportedly said the government has set up a health advisory council to promote partnerships with private hospitals in treating patients with severe illnesses such as cancer.
He had said private hospitals had approached them about the matter and that the government could utilise the facilities and expertise of specialists at private hospitals.
Dr Kuljit however highlighted that a detailed arrangement must be set out between both public and private sectors on how the costs would be borne.
“The patients may not be willing to bear the full cost of the treatment at private hospitals, so the price must be sustainable but not be set so low as to be ‘abused’ by these patients,” he said.
The government, he added, must decide if it would subsidise or fully bear the treatment costs of such patients.
The public hospitals, he added, should also set up a mechanism that determines which patients would be recommended for treatment at private hospitals.
“The government and private sector must also agree on the maximum number of patients that can be referred to private hospitals,” he said, adding that only certain hospitals that are not overcrowded should participate.
This is to manage overcrowding, he added, and to ensure that the services by private hospitals for these patients would not be provided at the expense of other patients who have paid the full treatment cost.
Dr Kuljit also expressed hopes that the government can help support the private healthcare sector.
“I hope that the government could also support us by giving us land for buildings at a lower price or through giving medical grants,” he said.