Ministry: We will seek comprehensive solutions to tackle the problems

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa. - Filepic/The Star

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

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

In a statement issued on Sunday, she stated that by the end of 2022, patient arrivals were expected to return to the pre-pandemic levels of about eight million per year.“Undeniably, with an increasing number of patients every day and various shortages, including manpower and facilities, it has exacerbated this congestion issue.”

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.

For hospitals with sufficient space, she said the implementation of a “short-stay ward” would 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 in the yellow zone,” she said.

The patient bed management system would also continue to be streamlined, while outsourcing and collaboration with the private sector would be considered, she added.

Dr Zaliha said the ministry would 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 would continue to be done,” she said.

She added that the Health Ministry would work with the Public Service Department and Finance Ministry to find the best meeting point to solve the matter soon.

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