Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Penang wants Putrajaya to decentralise healthcare systems


Dr Afif said he can foresee the current system of placing all healthcare systems under Putrajaya’s full control continue on to the next millennia that will result in less efficiency in the distribution of healthcare services throughout the states. — Picture by K.E.OoiDr Afif said he can foresee the current system of placing all healthcare systems under Putrajaya’s full control continue on to the next millennia that will result in less efficiency in the distribution of healthcare services throughout the states. — Picture by K.E.OoiGEORGE TOWN, Dec 17 — The healthcare systems in the country should be decentralised for better efficiency, said Penang Health state executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin.
He said currently, everything related to health is fully under the control of Putrajaya, which leaves the states powerless when there are insufficient healthcare services.
“We need to decentralise the healthcare systems and empower respective state governments so that there will be better distribution of health services to the people,” he said in a press conference in Komtar this morning.
He added that he can foresee the current system of placing all healthcare systems under Putrajaya’s full control to continue on to the next millennia, resulting in less efficiency in distribution of healthcare services statewide.
Referring to the recent announcement by Deputy Health director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran that the Health Ministry had stopped issuing licences for new dialysis centres, he said this is another centralised move that will only make it difficult for the state to set up more dialysis centres for patients with kidney failure.
Penang recently set up its first CAT dialysis centre in Balik Pulau here to meet the need for more of such centres due to a long waiting list at government hospitals.
A second CAT dialysis centre, located at Seberang Jaya, is now in the process of being set up.
Dr Afif said the move to stop issuing new licences for dialysis centres will negatively affect the patients who have no where else to go especially if they could not afford to go to private dialysis centres.
“We need more dialysis centres, especially in rural areas, to meet the needs of patients in rural areas who could not afford private healthcare,” he said.
He acknowledged the ministry’s concerns that there are dialysis centres that do not meet specifications and are operating illegally.
“Instead of freezing the issuance of licences, the ministry should impose tighter regulations and conduct aggressive enforcement against unlicensed dialysis centres,” he said.
Dr Jeyaindran had revealed that there are now 560 haemodialysis centres nationwide run by non-governmental organisations and private firms but only 326 have licences from the ministry.
Environment, Welfare and Caring Society state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh said there is a reason why there are so many dialysis centres nationwide.
“The ministry had failed in healthcare and health education which led to the increase in the number of patients with kidney failure from 1,204 patients in 1993 to 26,404 patients in 2012,” he said
“All these dialysis centres exist because there is a demand and need that the ministry had failed to meet,” he added.
Phee said it takes a centre about three years to get a licence and some of these centres may not fulfil technical requirements, not medical requirements, so they were not issued licences.
“Does this mean the patient have to wait for three years to get dialysis treatment?” he asked.
He said the ministry had taken a very drastic move to impose a blanket freeze on all centres due to a few isolated cases of contamination.
“This is very irresponsible as not all dialysis centres do not fulfil medical requirements but were not issued licences due to technicalities,” he said.
Yesterday, Dr Jeyaindran had said new licences for dialysis centres will not be issued while existing centres that do not meet requirements will be closed down.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/penang-wants-putrajaya-to-decentralise-healthcare-systems#sthash.UZDOkekZ.dpuf

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