KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 – A private hospital group today urged the authorities to consider allowing elective surgeries to be resumed soon after getting postponed due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).
An elective surgery does not necessarily mean that it is optional, but that it can be scheduled in advance because it doesn’t involve an urgent life-threatening condition.
“We hope some of the elective surgeries that patients may have been on hold because of the MCO could be considered to be operated soon, as medical conditions will change as time goes along,” said Associations of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) president Dr Kuljit Singh in a statement.
“All health care providers must ensure that the patient is tested Covid negative before any procedure done to avoid the spread. We urge the healthcare insurance companies to extend the cover of this testing for all in patients which would be treated in the ward or for a surgical procedure.”
Dr Kuljit told CodeBlue earlier that although some operations can be delayed, they should be done immediately, based on clinical judgment, because a patient’s other health conditions may worsen over time, complicating surgery.
He also applauded the government’s decision to relax restrictions and allow patients to travel beyond 10 km from their homes to seek medical care, as announced by Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“Some parts of the country with Peninsular and East Malaysia will have health care facilities more than 10 kms, hence with this relaxation of the rule will assist many of our patients,” Dr Kuljit added.
“We encourage the patients to have medical appointment cards, SMS messages or WhatsApp Messages and letters from hospitals stating their appointment dates to facilitate easy access through the police roadblocks.”
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said earlier today that he has excluded medical treatment and purchasing medicines from the 10km travel limit under the MCO, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, after speaking to the national police chief about the matter.
“The rules that are made certainly have special exemptions for emergency or other specific cases,” Dr Adham told CodeBlue.
In a press conference today, Ismail Sabri explained that despite the 10km limit, the police will exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis.
“Yesterday, we heard that some individuals wanted to go out to get medicines, but because the hospital was more than 10km away, they had to cancel their intentions or their destination to the hospital,” Ismail Sabri said.
The senior defence minister said police have been given the discretion to allow individuals through roadblocks for health care purposes, like going to the clinic, even if their destinations are more than 10km from their homes.