Private hospitals to help ease medicine shortage

PETALING JAYA: Private hospitals will work together with the government to solve the shortage of some regular medicines as well as shortening the waiting time for elective procedures and diagnostic tests.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said one of the challenges that private hospitals face with the increase in patients is shortage of some regular medications for upper respiratory conditions.

“Private hospitals welcome the decision made by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to release federal medical stockpiles to private hospitals and clinics facing shortages.

“APHM will soon discuss with Pharmaniaga Bhd on the mechanism of obtaining these medications from the government stockpile,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dr Kuljit added that APHM will work with the regulators to assist private hospitals in employing foreign nurses by removing the current bureaucracy.

“Like other industries, we too have manpower difficulties in opening more services in private hospitals to meet the demand.

“One of the common constraints of both public and private hospitals is to employ trained nurses with experience,” he said.

On the issue of patients at government hospitals facing long waiting times for elective procedures and diagnostic tests, Dr Kuljit said APHM will engage with government hospitals to work out a strategy to share resources.

He proposed that the Health Ministry buy services at an agreed rate, which will ease the long waiting lists, despite the current situation of full beds in private hospitals.

Dr Kuljit noted that private hospitals throughout the country have been filled up since the last two months, with patients seeking treatment for various ailments from influenza to surgical procedures.

“It’s a very uncommon phenomenon in private hospitals and these patients can afford private healthcare either ‘out of pocket’ payment or insurance/employment reimbursement.

“Despite the over-surge of patients, all private hospitals have kept their charges the same and consultation charges are regulated by the Fee Act by the government,” he said.

He attributed the sudden demand in seeking treatment at private hospitals to various reasons, including certain health conditions that may have taken a turn for the worse and the possible rise in the rate of communicable diseases due to the sudden exposure to social activities, especially after a two-year lockdown.

He, however, added that the number of Covid-19 patients is still low in private hospitals, as compared with last year.

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