PUTRAJAYA, Sept 24 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has recorded a total 57,355 backlogged non-Covid procedures comprising surgical-based and medical-based cases as of September 1.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said of the total, 93.8 per cent or 53,785 cases were surgical-based, covering general surgery, urology, pediatric surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, gynaecology, orthopaedics as well as ophthalmology.
Of the surgical-based total, 97.4 per cent or 52,373 were non-cancer backlog cases, and 2.6 per cent or 1,412 involved cancer cases.
Meanwhile, 6.2 per cent or 3,570 (out of the total 57,355 backlog cases) were medical-based procedures. They include arteriovenous fistula creation, angioplasty, angiogram, pacemaker insertion, sleep study, lung function test, bronchoscopy and pleuroscopy, stem cell transplant, nuclear medicine scans, as well as radiotherapy and CT simulations.
Of the 3,570 backlogged medical-based procedures, 83 per cent or 2,964 were non-cancer cases, 15 per cent or 534 involved cancer cases, and 2 per cent or 72 cases were transplant procedures.
“I have discussed the matter with the Health director-general (Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) that when Covid-19 cases are brought under greater control, we will implement a specific programme that will involve MOH hospitals, university hospitals and private hospitals — a national effort — to try and clear up the backlog as much as possible.
“I’ve given the DG one week to come up with a plan. Once the (Covid-19) cases are more manageable, we will focus on the backlog of non-Covid cases,” Khairy told reporters in Putrajaya today.
Khairy said MOH has been outsourcing non-Covid medical services to private hospitals since 2020. As of August 31 this year, a total of 38 public hospitals and 68 private hospitals have been involved in the outsourcing of services throughout the country, where 6,623 surgeries and procedures were successfully conducted. This saw a total of RM26.2 million (or 66 per cent) from MOH’s total allocation being spent.
Meanwhile, the outsourcing of cardiology and cardiothoracic services, in particular to the National Heart Institute (IJN), resulted in financial implications of RM26.4 million.
“Although outsourcing efforts have been initiated since 2020, the number of backlog cases are still high given the current limitations such as lack of expertise in private health care facilities and lack of private hospitals in some states,” Khairy said.
Most MOH hospitals have been designated to treat Covid-19 patients. Anesthesiologists and support staff such as nurses are required for Covid-19 treatment, while intensive care units (ICUs) and operation theatres that were repurposed into ICUs have caused surgical cases to be deferred.
In order to expand outsourcing efforts, Khairy said MOH will open up more repurposed operation theatres in phases; extend the surgical operation duration on Saturdays from five hours to eight hours, as well as on Sundays, if required; and have discussions with military hospitals and university hospitals on areas where they can assist.