KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — A total of 102 private hospitals nationwide admitted Covid-19 patients without the government taking over private assets under the emergency ordinance, according to Khairy Jamaluddin.
The health minister said this in a written parliamentary reply last Wednesday to Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen, who inquired why the government opted not to use its emergency powers to temporarily take over private health care resources to reduce the burden on public hospitals.
Khairy did not provide the number and categories of Covid-19 patients that had been accepted by the 102 private hospitals. The admission of coronavirus patients comes on top of over 1,500 non-Covid patients that were decanted to private hospitals in the Klang Valley from August 10 to 16.
The emergency ordinance, which was effective from January 11 until August 1, authorised the government to temporarily take over land, buildings, or property of private hospitals to help treat Covid-19 patients.
Khairy said although the takeover was not implemented, the Ministry of Health (MOH) was able to expand its treatment capacity for Covid-19 patients by gazetting more public hospitals into full coronavirus hospitals and adding more low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) to treat Categories Three and Four patients.
Other steps taken included the establishment of field hospitals and modular intensive care units (ICUs) to increase treatment capacity, such as those in Labuan, Kapit, Johor Baru, Melaka, Selayang Hospital, and Pulau Pinang, which were done in partnership with the armed forces and humanitarian group MERCY Malaysia.
Khairy said the government, however, did take over UKM’s Specialist Children’s Hospital (HPKK UKM) — a public university hospital — in June under the emergency ordinance amid a vicious surge of Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley.
“The acquisition allowed bed capacity, especially ICU beds to be increased. HPKK UKM is able to provide a total of 199 beds, specifically 102 non-ICU beds and 97 ICU beds,” Khairy said.