The Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS) notes the government’s plans to form a special committee to look into the issues in registering care centres.
We wish to highlight that when it comes to aged care, the registration of these centres should not be the only issue that needs to be addressed.
The rules and regulations, along with submissions of plans, care models, and qualifications that are to be reviewed and approved by various ministries and agencies require proper and consistent enforcement.
Part of it is to ensure regular follow-up inspections are carried out for the safety and security of patients and the employees too, in these care facilities.
To ensure that the minimum standard of care is delivered to the elderly in these centres, the Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Service Act 2018 (Act 802) was passed in Parliament on November 29, 2017, and came into force on March 29, 2018.
The new Act replaces the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 [Act 586] which regulates private nursing homes as well as the Department of Social Welfare – Care Centre Act [Act 506] which regulates care centres.
Should the special committee function by developing a streamlined process from registration, review, approval, and regular inspections and consistent enforcement in meeting the requirements to continue operating, then the rakyat may benefit greatly from its inception.
Given that at present, these centres are under the purview of various ministries, agencies, local authorities, and others, the special committee could function as a one-stop centre to simplify the processes and enforcing the rules where necessary, by weeding out the “in-it-for-money-only” and disreputable existing and prospective outfits.
Currently, among the existing requirements for the setting up of these centres include:
- Registration with SSM or ROS
- Fulfilment of the minimum standards set by Department of Social Welfare (JKM), and
Support or approval from:
- Local authorities
- Fire and Rescue Department
- Health Department
- Land and Survey Department (Sarawak only)
The special committee’s function in streamlining the process would be a welcoming move for the rakyat’s benefit as those within the medical profession will also be able to recognise the more reputable centres that would suit the needs of their patients.
MHAS can play a pivotal role midway in this process by training individuals who wish to work in such homes.
However, without regular enforcement inspections, it would not guarantee that these care facilities are run devoid of mistakes that could be detrimental to the well-being of the patients and the employees as well.
Prof Dr Shahrul Bahyah Kamaruzzaman is president of the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS).
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