Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 31, 2008

Getting treated closer to home

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:31 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is mulling over a proposal to allow repeat patients of government hospitals to seek follow-up treatment at government or private clinics near their homes at minimal cost.
Newly-appointed Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and ministry officials came up with the proposal recently to lighten the burden of the people.
“We are thinking of ways to help these patients seek treatment at nearby clinics, including private ones, and having a certain understanding on how they could work closely with government hospitals,” he said.
He said the medical records could be sent to a clinic near the patient’s home through a specific channel of communication or the Internet, accessible only to those involved.
Liow said officials would have to come up with innovative ways and study the matter extensively, including the cost to be borne by the Government, before implementation.
“However, our main target is to provide better services.
“Currently, repeat patients have to travel to specific hospitals for follow-ups or treatment.
“The proposal is also part of the ministry’s effort to reduce the waiting period at government clinics as they are facing a shortage of doctors and other medical staff,” he said.
Liow said he was concerned that the current ratio of doctors to patients at government hospitals was just one doctor to 1,121 people, while in developed countries it was 1: 600.
“Only 60% of the posts are filled and this problem has been dragging on for quite some time.
“The Cabinet has addressed this problem many times by giving incentives to doctors, but it appears that the move was not enough to retain them,” he added.
Liow said government hospitals would not be able to compete with the private sector in terms of providing better income and incentives.
Therefore, he added, the only solution was for the two sectors to work together to overcome the many problems.

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