Group: Private hospitals already have their hands full

Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh. - Filepic/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Private hospitals in major cities have their hands full treating non-Covid-19 patients, which raises concern if Covid-19 cases continue to increase, says Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh.

Currently, he said, patients admitted at private hospitals might have to wait a whole day in order to get a bed.

“We don’t have many Covid-19 patients right now, some hospitals may only have single digits, and we hardly have patients who are critical or in ICU because of Covid-19 but we are full of non-Covid-19 patients.

“In most private hospitals, the waiting period to get a bed can be six to eight hours if you are lucky; if not, it can be up to a day.

“This is not a question of cost, these patients can afford healthcare, but we cannot cope, so we are afraid that if we get into a pandemic (situation), it is going to be very difficult for us,” he said when contacted.

Dr Kuljit said apart from the lack of space and beds, they were also dealing with a shortage of nurses.

“We are not able to open up more beds because we are experiencing a lack of nurses nationwide, so we hope the government will allow private hospitals to get nurses from overseas as many countries do for both specialised and non-specialised nurses.

“There are nurses from other parts of the world that would like to choose Malaysia to work, but we are only allowed to get post-basic nurses, who are specialised.

“The process of getting them is very rigid, many countries have shortened the process because of its demand,” he said, adding that Malaysian nurses were in demand in the Middle East and Singapore.

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