Health Ministry to review clinics in rural areas to optimise services

John Bunyan
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye distributes mandarin oranges to staff at the Bijih Timah Health Clinic in Ipoh January 17, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Jan 17 — Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today said that the ministry will look at the number of health clinics around the country and decide whether they should continue operations or be shut down.

Dr Lee said this is because an area where some of these clinics were once built may have been developed now, with a number of new health clinics located within the area.

“If we look in the 60s and 70s, many clinics were built in villages and rural areas.

“However, the areas once considered rural have now been developed and transportation is not a problem anymore. We have to review how to manage these clinics in rural areas,” he told a press conference after visiting the Bijih Timah Health Clinic here.

“We have to look in terms of optimisation of the operations in these clinics,” he added.

Dr Lee also said that the Bijih Timah Health Clinic here, which started operations since 1970, will be closed as it has fewer patients and incur high operational costs.

“The people living in this area only number about 568. We usually have health clinics in areas where there are about 10,000 to 50,000 people. Therefore, the operation of this clinic is not economical.

“The clinic is also small and not convenient to store medications. We cannot expand it add other labs in the clinic. It is difficult to upgrade medical services due to its limited space,” he said.

Dr Lee said that patients who visit the clinic can be referred to the health clinic at the Urban Transformation Centre, which is located approximately 1.2 kilometres from here, or visit other health clinics in Buntong, Greentown, Kampung Simee and Gunung Rapat.

“The medical officers and staff in the clinic will be moved to the nearest clinics,” he added.

Separately, Dr Lee also said the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun’s new building is expected to start operating fully in March.

“At the moment, only the cardiovascular department has started operating in the new building since last month.

“The building was completed and handed over to the management last July, but it took about six months of testing and commissioning to make sure the facility operates well,” he said.

Dr Lee also hopes that the traffic and parking problems in the area can be solved with the new building in place.


 

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