Private hospitals see surge of new patients after lockdown lifted, says association

PETALING JAYA: After a two-year lockdown, there is a surge in patients in private hospitals seeking treatments, says Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM).

Its president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said private hospitals throughout the country have been filled up with patients for the last two months, seeking treatment for various ailments from influenza to surgical procedures.

“It’s a very uncommon phenomenon in private hospitals and these patients can afford private healthcare either ‘out of pocket’ payment or insurance/employment reimbursement.

“Despite the over-surge of patients, all private hospitals have kept their charges the same and consultation charges are regulated by the Fee Act by the government,” he said in a statement on Saturday (July 16).

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Dr Kuljit attributed the sudden demand to seek treatment in private hospitals to multiple reasons.

“In particular, after a two-year lockdown, there are certain conditions that may have taken a worse turn and the rate of communicable diseases may have risen because of the sudden exposure to social activities.

“However, the Covid-19 patients are still low in the private hospitals when compared to 2021,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Kuljit pointed out that one of the challenges that private hospitals face with the increase of patients was a shortage of some common medications for upper respiratory conditions.

“However, private hospitals welcome the decision made by the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to release federal medical stockpiles to private hospitals and clinics facing shortages.

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“APHM will soon discuss with Pharmaniaga Bhd the mechanism of obtaining these medications from the government stockpile.

“Like other industries, we do have manpower difficulties in opening more services in private hospitals to meet the demand.

“One of the common constraints of both public and private hospitals is to employ trained nurses with experience.

“APHM will make every effort to work with the regulators to assist private hospitals in employing foreign nurses by removing the current bureaucracy,” he said.

Dr Kuljit also said APHM will engage with government hospitals with long waiting lists to work out a strategy to share resources in which the Health Ministry could buy services at an agreed rate, which will ease the long waiting list for elective procedures and diagnostic tests.