KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Patients have been flooding private medical facilities around the country in the last two months for treatment, according to the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM).
Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh described the increase in patients seeking medical attention in private hospitals for everything from influenza to surgeries as a “very uncommon phenomena”.
“We also understand that government hospitals have a similar problem of a long waiting time for elective procedures and diagnostic tests.
“Despite the current situation of full beds in private hospitals, APHM will engage with government hospitals with long waiting lists to work out a strategy to share resources in which the Ministry of Health could buy services at an agreed rate, which will ease the long waiting list,” he said in a statement today.
He also gave an assurance that all private hospitals will not increase their medical consultation fees despite the surge, noting that the charges are regulated by the federal government.
Dr Kuljit said that private hospitals, like many other sectors in the country, are plagued with a manpower shortage on top of the persistent reduced stock of medical supplies, in particular medication for upper respiratory conditions.
“Like other industries we do have manpower difficulties in opening more services in private hospitals to meet the demand.
“One of the common constraints of both public and private hospitals is to employ trained nurses with experience.
“APHM will make every effort to work with the regulators to assist private hospitals in employing foreign nurses by removing the current bureaucracy,” he said.
Dr Kuljit said there could be multiple reasons for the patient surge at private hospitals, suggesting that this could signal that certain medical conditions or communicable diseases could be worsening as a result of social activities following two years of movement restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But he added that the number of Covid-19 patients seeking treatment in private hospitals is comparatively low now in contrast to last year.
He also welcomed Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s announcement yesterday that the government will be sending medical supplies from the federal stockpile to private hospitals and clinics facing shortages.
“The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia will soon discuss with Pharmaniaga Bhd on the mechanism of obtaining these medications from the government stockpile,” Dr Kuljit said.