Health Ministry to work with stakeholders to address overcrowding at hospital emergency depts

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will seek comprehensive solutions with stakeholders to address the issue of overcrowding at hospital emergency departments, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The Health Minister said this includes extending working hours, streamlining bed management systems and adding more healthcare providers

In a statement Sunday (Jan 22), she said that at the end of 2022, patient arrivals were expected to return to the same levels as before the Covid-19 pandemic, at about eight million patient arrivals per year.

“Undeniably, with an increasing number of patients every day and various shortages including manpower and facilities, it has exacerbated this congestion issue,” she added.

Dr Zaliha said the effectiveness of implementing initiatives such as extending working hours at certain facilities is currently being reviewed, while efforts to empower the "lean healthcare system" are being improved.

She added that for hospitals with sufficient space, the implementation of a "short stay ward" will be introduced.

“This has already been implemented in several hospitals. However, I suggest that the ward criteria be improved to avoid patients having to wait longer, especially at the yellow zone,” she said.

She said that the patient bed management system will also continue to be streamlined, while outsourcing and collaboration with the private sector will be considered.

She said the ministry will also continue to upgrade the existing ICT system to a potential digital system in order to overcome existing problems.

“The need to get more manpower including doctors, nurses, assistant medical officers, pharmacy officers, allied science professions, support staff and others will continue to be done.

“The Health Ministry will work together with the Public Service Department and the Finance Ministry to find the best meeting point to solve this issue in the medium and long term,” she said.

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