Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hospitals urge public to change perception

Star: PENANG: The public tend to associate non-profit hospitals which provide cheaper medical care as sub-standard and patronised by those with lower social status.
Expressing concern, Mount Miriam Hospital chief executive officer Andy Wee said the public should dispel such a wrong perception.
“Mount Miriam is a non-profit hospital and we are among the country’s most comprehensive cancer care centres.
The perception that cheaper treatment was synonymous with sub-standard care was wrong, he said.
“We are currently the only hospital up north equipped with a Linear Accelerator radiation treatment machine.
“The machine alone costs about RM6mil, and within the next few months we will invest RM7mil more to upgrade our facilities and purchase a Stereo Static Radio Surgery treatment machine for the hospital,” he said in an interview yesterday.
He was asked to comment on Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek’s statement that the country’s non-profit hospitals were struggling to survive as the number of patients seeking treatment at such institutions was dropping drastically.
He said this was because of public perception that those who sought treatment there were of lower social status.
Penang Adventist Hospital, Mount Miriam and Lam Wah Ee Hospital are among the 12 non-profit hospitals in the country.
Wee said it had always been a struggle for non-profit hospitals to survive but Mount Miriam was fortunate as the public and non-governmental organisations had always contributed generously to the hospital.
Lam Wah Ee medical superintendent Yip Kok Thye said it might be true that most non-profit hospitals were struggling to stay afloat amidst rising costs but Lam Wah Ee actually recorded a 4% increase in the number of patients treated last year.
“As long as non-profit hospitals are able to provide the highest standard of care at affordable rates, Malaysians will be mature enough to value the service,” he said.

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