KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 – A private hospitals’ group warned the government that patients could flood public health facilities if private general practitioner (GP) clinics shuttered due to static consultation fees amid rising costs.
The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) also noted that some patients may choose to go to private hospitals instead.
“General practitioners play a very vital role in the provision of healthcare. They are the front liners nearest to patients and function as gatekeepers for patients who would otherwise flood the already heavily utilised and overcrowded public sector facilities,” APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said in a statement.
“A national health insurance scheme has been in the back burner since the mid 80’s. It would certainly make private hospital care more accessible. It’s best the valid concerns of the GPs be addressed the soonest,” he added.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said recently that the Cabinet has suggested that the National Cost of Living Action Council first discuss his proposal to raise private GPs’ consultation fees that have remained stagnant for 27 years since 1992, before deciding on the matter.
He said he had proposed to the Cabinet last April 24 to amend Schedule 7 of the Private Health Care Facilities and Services Act 2006, in order to harmonise the consultation fees of GPs operating shoplot practices (RM10 to RM35) with the rates earned by their hospital-based counterparts under Schedule 13 of the 2013 amendment to that law (RM35 to RM125).
The Amanah leader will have a townhall meeting with GPs on June 11 at the Health Ministry’s office in Putrajaya.