Health Ministry drawing up plans to tackle Emergency Dept overcrowding

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham, Ministry of Health make at visit to emergency Putrajaya Hospital during the program of Bersama Petugas Menyambut 1 Syawal. ( MAY 13, 2021 ). — ART CHEN/The Star


KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has begun drawing up plans to resolve the issue of overcrowding in Emergency and Trauma Departments in an effort to provide efficient services to the people.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the ministry is also looking at all the latest data as well as conducting audits and research related to the workload and overcrowding of Emergency and Trauma Departments nationwide, especially in specialist hospitals to identify problems faced by the department.

"Efforts to overcome this issue must involve various quarters and stakeholders. To find out the specific problems and needs according to each state, the ministry will hold engagement sessions with relevant stakeholders including the emergency department itself, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) and the private sector," she said.

"This is very important because a more holistic approach needs to be taken to deal with this issue based on more specific data and information,” added Dr Zaliha in a statement on Monday (Dec 26).

Dr Zaliha said that the ministry consistently put forth efforts to address the issue by holding discussions as well as requesting funds and additional staff from the government to overcome the issues of lack of allocation and shortage of manpower, equipment and infrastructure.

"At the same time, various initiatives have also been implemented by the ministry to improve the efficiency of handling patients,” she said.

She said the overcrowding issue had also been reported in the Auditor-General’s Report 2018 which was published on June 24, 2019, which stated that the identified causes contributing to the congestion were insufficient allocations, a shortage of health personnel and lack of facilities to meet patients’ needs.

The issue was not only faced by the Emergency and Trauma Departments but it also affected outpatient clinics, inpatient wards and health clinics.

Dr Zaliha said the problem also occurred in other countries and the International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM), in a statement, stated that based on a survey of 41 IFEM member countries in November 2022, 100 per cent of them had reported the issue in their respective emergency departments.

Meanwhile, she said the ministry would also look at the potential of strategic collaboration with the private sector including general medical practitioners to further strengthen primary health care.

"The collaboration is seen as able to reduce patient attendance at the emergency departments and health clinics,” she said.

Dr Zaliha also reminded all parties that the Emergency and Trauma Department’s function was to provide treatment to individuals who were really in need of emergency care.

"As such, the ministry will work with related agencies to intensify awareness campaigns about the primary purpose of the emergency department,” she added. - Bernama

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