FIRST, I would like to record my sincerest appreciation for the Health Ministry and the brave effort of its frontliners during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have done a stellar job, and kudos to them for all their hard work in enabling the transition to the endemic phase.
While it is understandable that our public healthcare system is recovering from the challenges of the pandemic, there are serious issues that the ministry must look into in improving the efficiency of the system.
As a pensioner with some ailments, I rely on government hospitals around the Klang Valley for my regular check-ups, follow-ups and prescriptions for my medicine. I noticed that in the past few months, my healthcare facility is always running low on the stocks of some of the medicine I am prescribed even though some of the pills I have to take are generic medicines.
When I ask about the supply, the hospital staff always complain about the government not having enough of a budget to stock up. I am always told by the dispensary staff to wait my turn as the queue is long or to buy the medicine on my own. I have done that at times, but of course, this eats into my savings.
For my wife’s ailment, she has been referred from one government facility to another far from where we live. Waiting time to see doctors is long and sometimes appointments are rescheduled due to the doctors’ busy schedules. My wife and I have to make multiple trips to the hospital – taxi rides are additional costs I can barely afford, what more multiple times.
Already as it is, the prices of goods, especially food, have increased greatly in the past year. But I understand times are tough, we have to tighten our belts.
However, I cannot help but feel hurt knowing that a certain VVIP convicted person is given better treatment. I too gave my life in service to our nation in my small way and did not take a single sen illegally in that time. In my old age, surely I am entitled to good care by the government – that is, after all, the benefit of being a civil servant. That was the deal.
I have to say our Health Minister is doing a good job in pushing for an increase in the ministry’s budget. But he must focus. He is taking on too much, from addressing mental health to studying the legalising of medical marijuana and pushing for the banning of smoking for 18-year-olds. These are all good policies but he must focus on his core KPI: improving public healthcare delivery.
No double standards, please. And don’t be sidetracked by politics. Focus on serving the general public.
I hope that the minister and the ministry will institute reforms to improve public healthcare efficiency. This is a serious matter. We must continue to improve so that more Malaysians can get better treatment, not just a select few.
LIM CHOO KIANG