Health commission needs to be established - health experts


KUALA LUMPUR: a health commission needs to be established to enable access to funds, to reduce bureaucracy and address health practitioners maldistribution and remuneration issues effectively, say health experts.

Health Ministry former deputy director-general (Medical), Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the discussion on the creation of a health commission was nothing new and such commission should be responsible and accountable to Parliament.

"We can move faster as there is no red tape. My hope is that the health commission will not be totally detached from the Public Service Department (JPA) but given autonomy to make some decisions as advisor in terms of government’s directions and policies.”

Dr Azman said this as a panel speaker on the second day of the Health Policy Summit 2022: The Future of Our Healthcare - Health White Paper Development on Tuesday (Aug 16).

On his hope of the Health White Paper on the allocation of human resources, he said medical practitioners needed to be bold and brave enough to come out and think out of the box to have them heard on human resource issues in the health services.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya’s Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman echoed Dr Azman on the establishment of the commission saying that in health human resources, training of personnel was important in order to fill in the gap.

"We need to increase the number (of workforce) and the quality, and a system put in place as the current state of training is fragmented and can be improved in substantial ways, especially funding,” she said.

On the health commission, Dr Adeeba also said that it should have a high-level committee chaired by a minister or even the prime minister, as Indonesia has its president as the chair.

"We definitely need to be out of the JPA as the system doesn’t allocate appropriate pay remuneration. It’s not just doctors but also nurses who are in worse conditions.

“We need to alleviate this situation as health is a service industry which requires the best people because they’re dealing with lives,” she said.

On the prevailing issues in public healthcare other than workforce shortage, Dr Adeeba noted the maldistribution in terms of public and private providers as 70 to 80% of the healthcare burden in Malaysia was borne by public healthcare facilities, both in the primary and secondary/tertiary care settings. - Bernama

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