Wednesday, April 16, 2014

LONG-TERM CARE: Health Ministry wants families to choose their own doctors

KUALA LUMPUR: THE government is promoting the assignment of doctors to patients as a long-term measure to better manage a person's healthcare throughout his or her lifetime.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the plan would require patients to be registered to a doctor of their choice, either in a public or private sector facility, to prevent the occurrence of doctor-hopping and patients seeking suspected quick cures.
He said the move would enable healthcare providers to have their patients' complete medical records from "womb to tomb".
"A long-term relationship between doctors and patients is imperative to manage health issues better. This would help in building trust and foster mutual partnerships in maintaining health," he said in his address at the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute's Healthcare Forum here yesterday.
Subramaniam said the plan would require families to register themselves with a primary healthcare provider of their choice, as this would enable the doctor to know their entire health history.
In this regard, he said, many people no longer value the concept of "family doctors" to manage their health needs over a lifetime.
"People are more likely to go doctor-hopping in search of quick cures and seek specialist services even before their problem is assessed holistically. There is an over-focus on curative care."
Subramaniam said the trend is far less effective in tackling long-term chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma or lifestyle problems.
On a related matter, he said the ministry has stepped up efforts to empower communities to take more responsibility for their health.
"The current and next Malaysia Plan will continue to focus on prevention and promotion of healthcare. Individual and community empowerment will also be emphasised to reduce exposure to non-communicable disease risk factors."
On the issue of overcrowding at government health facilities, Subramaniam said: "The ministry is preparing a Healthcare Facility Master Plan to overcome hospital congestion and to better locate new hospitals in the areas where they are most needed."

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