Audit: Not setting optimal period of use for medical equipment can cause financial loss to govt

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The implementation of continuous maintenance programmes without setting an optimal period for the use of hospital medical equipment by the Health Ministry can be financially detrimental to the government.

According to the Auditor-General's Report 2019 Series 2, this is because the maintenance cost has exceeded the cost of new procurement while the medical equipment is still using old technology with deteriorating performance.

Besides, information from the Asset and Services Information System (ASIS) is not being optimally used to make decisions relating to budget applications, procurement planning and setting of the maintenance period.

"Audits conducted from 2016 to 2020 found 50,452 (19.6%) units of medical equipment aged 20 years and above and worth RM641.59mil, as well as 29,654 (11.5%) units of medical equipment categorised as Beyond Economic Repair are still being used in hospitals.

"A total of 1,373 units of medical equipment procured at a cost of RM38.67mil had been terminated from the Biomedical Engineering Maintenance Services programme despite not having reached the expected life-cycle,” the report said.

The audits also revealed that eight hospitals did not utilise the ASIS system, five of which were using other maintenance systems, while three others had no maintenance system at all.

As such, it was recommended for the Health Ministry to provide a comprehensive policy relating to the management of medical equipment, including the procurement of new equipment, replacement plan, maintenance and disposal to ensure effective management and give added value to the government.

"The Ministry should also take into account the quality of medical equipment endorsed by the Technical Evaluation Committee and the reasonable price to ensure that it provides the best value for government procurement.

"The role of the procurement secretariat also needs to be improved in terms of preparing a more comprehensive tender briefing paper to enable the Procurement Board to make the right decision,” the report said.

In addition, it was also recommended that the Health Ministry ensures that all management information systems and maintenance of medical equipment in new hospitals is integrated with ASIS. - Bernama

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