Health DG: Surgical services in primary healthcare facilities need to be expanded

KOTA KINABALU: Surgical services in primary healthcare facilities need to be expanded and empowered, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said surgical services in primary healthcare facilities were low nationwide, and the need to increase surgical healthcare was due to over dependence and congestion in hospitals.

“There are clinics doing biopsies (extraction of sample cells or tissues for clinical tests), minor surgeries for lumps and bumps among other minor procedures but not many,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said this during a press conference after launching the 24th Family Medicine Scientific Conference at Sabah International Convention Centre here Thursday (Sept 22).

He said by empowering surgical healthcare at these facilities, the services can be provided better and widely in the community, and help decongest hospitals.

He also said there are some 8,000 capacities available for family medicine specialists (FMS), but so far, there are only over a thousand on the ground serving the people.

“We have around several hundred FMSs in training over the country so far, but this is far from enough as we hope to place at least one or two FMS personnel for every clinic in the country,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

He said the government and Health Ministry can consider working with colleges from outside the country to make up for the lack of manpower in this field among other ways.

Earlier in his opening speech, he said that FMS personnel have played an essential role in establishing primary care as an indispensable pillar of Malaysia’s healthcare system.

Dr Noor Hisham said they provide effective and outstanding care at the community level by providing holistic, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care.

He said if the nation and the healthcare system have one thing that they learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic is that having everyone came together to work as one, adding that preventive measures work wonders in times of crises and disasters.

He attributed the nation’s success in controlling the spread of Covid-19 following its outbreak in 2020, to the extraordinary work shown by primary healthcare workers and all frontliners.

Towards this end, he reiterated calls for the government to allocate more funding for healthcare in the country.

He said this is an investment for the overall wellbeing of the country.

On questions whether the healthcare system is ready to face the coming general election, he said that was something that the Health Ministry can only decide on after the announcement of the date.

“For other crisis and disaster management, we are always on standby. More so after the pandemic hit, that made us realise and really enforce on preparedness,” he said.

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