Govt urged to lower private hospital fees

KUALA LUMPUR, 4 Dec 2018:

The government has been urged to regulate medical care costs in private hospitals to a more affordable level to curb influx of patients in government hospitals.

“Government hospitals are now flooded with too many patients, so it is necessary to consider regulating the cost of medical treatment at private hospitals.

“This will indirectly curb the issue of migration of private patients to government hospitals due to higher treatment costs,” said Senator Lim Pay Heng when debating the proposed mid-term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan at the Dewan Negara yesterday.

The government should also revise the Health Transformation Plan by placing higher targets in the wider use of preventative measures than treatment, he said.

He acknowledged the government’s efforts to increase the number of beds in government hospitals, saying there were 130 government hospitals nationwide with 37,470 beds while the number of private hospitals was 200 with 14,799 beds.

Separately, the government is not obliged to absorb every pharmacist – who has completed graduate training or mandatory training – into the civil service, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“The ministry has decided to appoint only the best talents and based on the vacancy available as well,” he said in a statement.

He was commenting on the issue, which was raised in social media, regarding the implementation of permanent appointment of Grade UF41 (contract of service) pharmacists undergoing graduate training or mandatory service.

He stressed that non-appointed permanent contract officers would spend the remaining one-year contract to complete their graduate training or mandatory service before being released to work in the private sector.

“Those released can serve in the private sector as pharmacists holding the Type A Poisons Licence in community pharmacies, hospitals and private healthcare centres as well as in the manufacturing, importing and exporting industries.

“They can also find jobs in the field of education and research in either the private sector or statutory bodies.”

The minister said that in 2016, the government decided to appoint grade UF41 pharmacists on ‘contract of service’ basis to enable them to undergo graduate training and mandatory service before being registered by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Board (LFM), which is a prerequisite for them to practise in the private and government sectors.

The contract appointment was done as there were insufficient permanent posts at the Health Ministry to cater to the number of graduates, resulting in long waiting period for them to undergo graduate training and mandatory service.

Pharmacy graduates must first undergo a one-year graduate training before they can be registered with the LFM, which will then issue them a notice of mandatory service to serve for one year.

– Bernama