Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 28, 2008

Clinics to take load off emergency units

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:47 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Sixteen health clinics nationwide will start operating after office hours in a bid to lessen the number of patients at the emergency units in hospitals.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said these clinics, which see a lot of patients, would offer services from 5pm to 9.30pm.
“We already have these after office hours services at 33 of our hospitals. The ministry decided to expand this to the health clinics so that non-critical patients can seek treatment at these places, instead of coming to the emergency units at public hospitals.
“These are among our measures to reduce the waiting time for patients from 45 minutes currently to 30 minutes, which is our target.
“The Cabinet has also approved the ministry’s proposal for doctors and specialists working on weekends to be paid incentives, and for those working overtime to have their fees increased from RM30 per hour currently to RM80,” he told reporters Wednesday after chairing the post-Cabinet meeting here.
On Feb 6, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican had announced that doctors at selected clinics would be paid more than double or RM80 per hour in incentive payment while specialists would be paid RM200 per hour to work after office hours and on weekends.
This would allow them more time to serve the public and to conduct elective surgery from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays at 19 selected hospitals to reduce the backlog of cases.
Liow said elective surgery on Saturdays were necessary because the number of operations had increased by 23% from 636,867 in 2002 to 782,514 in 2006.
“This increase has forced our anaesthesiologists and surgeons to give priority to emergency cases. This has caused our non-critical patients to wait between one to six months for their surgery,” he said, adding that this could lead to their conditions becoming more chronic and affecting their quality of life.
He said the ministry also planned to include more hospitals and clinics offering such services if this project proved to be successful.
“It will cost the ministry a total of RM19.3mil,” he said.

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