Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 6, 2007

Chua: Have a heart

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:53 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is appealing to private hospitals to give affordable heart surgery – at a minimal rate – to the poor.
If they will not do it, the ministry will look at the provisions in the Private Healthcare Facilities And Services (PHFS) Act and Regulations to see if it has the power to direct the hospitals to carry out this “social responsibility.”
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the demand for heart surgery in Malaysia is high but the waiting time at government hospitals was two to six months.
“The Government has not been able to meet all the needs and understands the hardship,” he told reporters after opening a gathering of the Asia Pacific Obesity Conclave and the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity here yesterday.
Dr Chua, who recently visited the Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Cardiac Sciences in Bangalore, said each private hospital in Malaysia could do two or three surgeries in a year.
He added that the ministry had discussed with the institute’s world-renowned director, Dr Devi Shetty, to accept patients from Malaysia at a minimal rate.
The hospital has treated 14 Malaysians.
“We either need to arrange for the poor to be treated in Bangalore at a minimum rate or at a private hospital that has the facilities to offer the service,” he said.
Commenting on Dr Chua’s remarks, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) vice-president Datuk Teddric Mohr said some hospitals were already providing services for the poor.
He said the APHM had been collecting data since February from member hospitals on how much medical service they had given to the poor and how much more they could give.
He hoped the data collection would be completed in a couple of months.
Asked if two or three heart surgeries a year was a reasonable number, he said they need to first compile the data before giving an opinion on this.
He added that while the ministry may be under pressure to meet the needs of the nation and wishes to apply the PHCFS Act, it has to also look into the affordability and capacity of each hospital.
Federation of Private Medical Practitioners’ Association of Malaysia president Dr Steven Chow said the federation supports the minister’s call.
However, he added, acts of charity for deserving cases should be made on a voluntary basis rather than by invoking the PHCFS Act.

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