Saturday, October 26, 2013

MMA disappointed with lack of priority to health care in Budget 2014


PETALING JAYA (Oct 25, 2013): Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Datuk Dr NSK Tharmaseelan has voiced disappointment with the lack of focus to health care in the Budget 2014.
When contacted, he said Malaysia is far from the 10% average allocation percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the ASEAN countries.
Last year, Tharmaseelan said, health care was only allocated 2.2% of the GDP.
"We expected double of that, if the government wanted to make meaningful changes in the health industry," he lamented.
He also said the additional 50 1Malaysia clinics should be built in rural areas.
"People in the rural areas have to travel more than 100km to get medical assistance," he said.
Also, "there is no point in placing these clinics in the urban areas with only nurses manning the clinics," he added.
Tharmaseelan also questioned why the government is only budgeting for one additional hospital next year when the country is producing 5,000 doctors a year.
"There will be a lack of hospitals for doctors to practise. It is an embarrassment to be a country that has jobless doctors," he said.
On the other hand, Tharmaseelan commended the government for abolishing the sugar subsidy of 34 sen effective Oct 26.
"This is a good move as our country has one of the highest diabetic rate and statistics indicate that 2.6 million Malaysians under the age of 30 are
diabetic. Hopefully with the removal of sugar subsidy, we will see fewer diabetic patients," he said.
He also noted that the government's move to improve the quality of nursing care by appointing 6,800 more nurses will help reduce the number of jobless nurses, said to be 20,000 currently.
An allocation of RM150 million to appoint the nurses was announced in the National Budget 2014 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
Najib also announced an allocation of RM3.3 billion for the purchase of medicine and medical equipment to ensure patients receive appropriate treatment including expanding the cardiothoracic services in Hospital Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan and Kuching.

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