Friday, March 5, 2021

Putrajaya set to announce plan for private hospitals to join Covid battle

Private hospitals say they are preparing for the plan despite limitations in terms of facilities.

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Private hospital representatives will be discussing with health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah tomorrow a plan on getting them to take in Covid-19 patients, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

It is also understood that private hospitals could be allocating 10% of their facilities to treat Covid-19 patients, following a surge of the virus which has pushed government hospitals beyond their operatng capacity.

When contacted, the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM), which represents more than 100 hospitals nationwide, did not confirm this, but said they were preparing for the plan despite limitations in treating Covid-19 cases.

“The level of care and treatment depends on the size of hospitals, manpower and facilities,” said APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh.

It is learnt that under a new arrangement, private hospitals will treat Covid-19 patients up to the ICU level, and government hospitals will no longer accept referrals for patients.

On the other hand, public hospitals could also transfer cases to private hospitals, a source said.

Kuljit said details on the private healthcare’s involvement are still being ironed out, and will be announced by Noor Hisham.

“Right now we are making arrangements and getting ready to accept Covid-19 patients,” he told MalaysiaNow.

He also praised the efforts of the public hospitals so far in treating tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients.

More than 147,000 people in Malaysia have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic was detected in the country early last year.

As of yesterday, government facilities set aside for Covid-19 treatment nationwide were still caring for more than 33,000 patients.

But a surge in September forced the government’s senior medical officials to warn of a shortage of beds and medical equipment, as well as manpower due to hundreds of frontliners themselves being infected with the deadly virus.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, announcing details of an emergency proclamation this week, had said that the authorities could enact ordinances to allow the takeover of private assets to help in the battle against Covid-19.

So far, private hospitals have said they are prepared to assist in the battle despite shortcomings compared to the better facilities at government hospitals.

Sivanesan Selan contributed to this report.

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