PETALING JAYA: The Penang government could decant non-Covid-19 patients to private hospitals instead of crafting new legislation to compel them to take on more Covid-19 patients to ease the pressure on public healthcare facilities there, says a group.
The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) said private hospitals in Penang are willing to take on more non-Covid-19 patients from public healthcare facilities.
Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the state could consider doing what the Klang Valley did by decanting non-Covid-19 patients to private hospitals for treatment.
This comes after Penang health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin recently proposed legislation for private hospitals to take in 30% of Categories 3 to 5 Covid-19 patients.
Dr Kuljit said transferring the healthcare service provision of non-Covid-19 patients in public hospitals to private ones is a better option instead.
“Decanting has proven to be best for the safety and care of the patients.
“We have treated more than 2,000 non-Covid-19 patients in private hospitals in the Klang Valley.
“APHM has been in contact with all the CEOs of private hospitals in Penang and they are all ready to accept non-Covid-19 patients from the government hospitals as they have the capacity to do it better with non-Covid-19 patients,” he added.
He said due to their lack of manpower and unsuitable infrastructure, private hospitals were not able to treat large numbers of Covid-19 patients.
Private hospitals, he added, were ever ready to help the Penang state government without being compelled to do so through legislation.
“Our working relationship is very good with the Health Ministry and we are happy to assist in the best possible way,” he said.
On Thursday, Dr Norlela said in her winding-up speech at the Penang state assembly that private hospitals have taken in only 5% of Covid-19 patients.
She suggested private hospitals take in 30% of Covid-19 patients classified as Categories 3 to 5 as they were now only taking in Categories 1 and 2 patients.
Penang currently has the highest Covid-19 incidence rate in the country, with 93.36 cases per 100,000 people based on the seven-day rolling average on Sept 2.
In comparison, Malaysia’s overall Covid-19 incidence rate is 60.07 cases per 100,000 people.