Raise Health Care Allocation To 5% Of GDP For Budget 2023 – APHM

Malaysia’s current expenditure on health care is not viable anymore. An increase in the budget should contribute to promotive and preventive care.

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia welcomes the move of the proposed White Paper on health care by the Ministry of Health, which will be tabled in Parliament by the end of this year. 

Several suggestions were raised at the recent Health Policy Summit 2022: The Future of Our Healthcare – Health White Paper Development, which was officiated by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, with a presentation by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

The proposal of increasing the health care allocation allocation to 5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) should be done in the next year’s budget, as the current expenditure on health care is not viable anymore. 

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia proposes that the increase should contribute to promotive and preventive care and enable private general practitioner (GP) clinics and private hospitals to work closer with public sector on this. 

Investments in digital technology using applications on healthy lifestyle interventions would further help the citizens to have early access to health care screening in private hospitals and funded by the government. 

Screening centres at private hospitals are well designed to contribute to preventive health care, in alignment with the national effort. 

In terms of strengthening the primary health care system, be it public or private, and optimising resources, private hospitals would like to be considered as part of a link in the health care ecosystem. 

We may not be the main provider, but we might play a role in referral or co-managing the patient, hence it’s important for us to be able have better access/ communication with primary health care and public hospitals for better continuum of care for patients. 

The White Paper should have clauses to allow reasonable reimbursements to the private sector in order to have a sustainable partnership.

Public-private partnerships with outsourcing services to private hospitals should be well established within the White Paper instead of changing the current private health care system, which largely caters to the cohort of patients who can afford private health care. 

A huge burden for the government is currently managed by private hospitals in managing patients with financial resources. Private health care also further contributes to the country’s income through international medical tourism.

Private hospitals have close to 50 years of experience and would be happy to assist the government in guiding government hospitals in the process of being autonomous and self-sustaining, as suggested by the health minister. 

Our partnership will not be just confined to treating patients, but also in other technical and knowledge sharing of health care delivery.

Dr Kuljit Singh is the president of the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM).

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