Private Hospitals Resume Treating Chronic Patients As Covid Load Eases

APHM wants private hospitals to treat some public hospital patients this year to assist thousands who have been awaiting treatment in public health care facilities.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 – Malaysia’s private hospitals have resumed health services for non-Covid patients to help clear mounting backlog issues as coronavirus hospitalisations drop to low levels.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Dr Kuljit Singh, in a statement today, said private hospitals are now functioning “almost back to normal” and have started treating their regular patients with multiple ailments as many kept their chronic condition unmonitored for months, and others up to two years.

“We hope that, in 2022, private hospitals could continuously support the government in treating some public hospital patients using the similar formula of decanting during the peak of the pandemic. This will assist thousands of patients in a month who have been waiting for treatment in the public healthcare facilities,” Dr Kuljit said.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday said that as of October 30, 2021, Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals reported a total 52,189 backlog cases (47,828 surgical-based and 4,361 medical-based). The figure marked a mere 9 per cent decline from 57,355 backlog cases reported in September last year.

Khairy said MOH hospitals have just started to see a decline in backlog cases — most of which are critical — as surgeries could not be carried out because operation theatres were shut down and specialists were assigned to look after Covid-19 cases.

He warned that if Omicron’s rapid spread is left uncontrolled, hospital admissions will rise again causing backlogs to be deferred once again.

According to a recent modelling done by MOH, Covid-19 infections could see a surge to over 30,000 cases a day by the end of March if no new control measures are introduced.

Dr Kuljit said private hospitals are currently coping well with the low numbers of Covid-19 patients both in normal wards and in intensive care units (ICUs).

“There has been no strain on the private health care services based on the quick check recently done by APHM. However, private hospitals are ready for any increase in the number of Covid-19 patients should the influx increase as we experienced in the middle of last year. 

“Though treatment of Covid 19 in private hospitals is largely out-of-pocket patients as not all insurance would cover this condition completely, private hospitals were filled up to the maximum of the allotted beds both in normal and ICU beds during the Delta wave last year,” Dr Kuljit said.

Currently, many private hospitals are participating in the delivery of Covid-19 booster doses to the public. Dr Kuljit said the response has been very encouraging particularly with the fast spread of the Omicron variant.

Besides treating patients with post-Covid infection, many private hospitals are also participating in offering health services to flood relief centres.

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