Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 25, 2004

108813715394381026

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 12:17 pm

Promote health tourism, private hospitals urged

Kuala Lumpur: Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek called on private healthcare institutions to assist the Government to promote the country’s health tourism sector.

He said these institutions could, among else, set an international benchmark to gain confidence of foreigners to obtain medical and other healthcare services in Malaysia.

“If possible, private hospitals should co-operate with the insurance sector to enable foreigners treated here to obtain insurance cover.”

He told reporters this after opening the 12th International Healthcare Conference, organised by the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM), here, Thursday.

Dr Chua said apart from a special unit set up by the Health Ministry to promote the country’s health tourism sector, the Tourism Ministry had agreed to organise roadshows in several West Asian nations and China.

“The co-operation framework has been agreed and I have requested the Tourism Minister to hold a meeting to facilitate implementation and avoid overlapping of work,” he said.

Dr Chua said over 100,000 foreigners sought treatment at private hospitals last year, earning the country some RM67 million in foreign exchange.

He also said the Health Ministry had initiated several measures to improve healthcare services in public hospitals.

This included reducing the waiting time for patient registration, consultation and dispensing of medication by half and improving counter registration through the use of information and communication technology.

Dr Chua said the other initiatives were to set up special clinics for patients with cardiovascular diseases like diabetes and hypertension, special counters for senior citizens, pregnant women and the disabled.

He said government doctors were encouraged to serve at accident and emergency units in public hospitals after their working hours for which they would earn RM30 an hour.

“The Ministry is negotiating with private doctors for them to voluntarily serve at public hospitals as part of their social obligations,” he said.

Dr Chua said the outpatient charges for foreigners at public hospitals had been increased from RM2 to RM15 except for workers in the plantation sector and the specialist fees raised from RM5 to RM60.

“This is to encourage them to seek treatment at private hospitals and reduce the burden at government hospitals,” he said.

He said public hospitals treated 48 million outpatient cases last year. – Bernama

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