Health Ministry to ask for better funding to improve services, says Dr Zaliha

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will be meeting with the Finance Ministry to discuss bigger allocations to improve its services, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa (pic).

The Health Minister said the meeting would also highlight the need for bigger allocations encompassing aspects of infrastructure, digitising existing systems and human resources.

“Engagements with all stakeholders will also continue in order to get feedback, especially from on-ground staff.

“The engagement also aims to identify long and short-term solutions that should be prioritised in the current healthcare system,” she said in a Twitter post on Wednesday (Feb 1).

She said the ministry was also in the midst of deriving processes to resolve issues such as workers welfare, the physical and mental wellbeing of healthcare workers as well as fitting wages, among others.

Dr Zaliha said revamps towards the existing healthcare system also warranted a collaborative effort across other government ministries agencies.

“All aspects mentioned earlier are also prioritised in the Health White Paper which will act as a benchmark for the reformation of the healthcare sector,” she said.

Dr Zaliha’s statement comes following continuous criticism on long waiting times and subpar services at government healthcare facilities, with one social media user even claiming that their loved one had died due to the situation.

On Jan 18, the group championing rights for contract doctors, Hartal Doktor Kontrak, shared a picture of fully occupied beds and a packed emergency department at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) on social media.

The post claimed that there was a more than 24-hour wait to be admitted into a ward, with almost 100 patients stranded in the emergency department during peak hours.

Another Twitter user, @hippochan94, said she saw a similar occurrence at another government hospital in the Klang Valley.

“Just yesterday I had a patient with acute appendicitis sitting on the floor with a bottle of drip in his hands, and a three-year-old kid with dengue who had to stand with the drip in her father’s hands. It is that bad. Medical officer to patient ratio 1:30,” she tweeted on Jan 18.

Azimah Abdullah Zawawi, in a Facebook post on Jan 17, said she was disappointed by the poor treatment of her son at Hospital Pasir Mas in Kelantan after he was involved in an accident.

She claimed that her son was not given proper treatment and the family was told to take him home with only an outpatient follow-up scheduled for the next day, despite his poor condition.

On Jan 26, a late patient's next of kin also alleged that negligence by Serdang Hospital staff led to his father’s death.

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