KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) today noted that the federal government’s Budget 2023 lacks incentives for private hospitals to help public hospitals.
Although no provisions were made for private-public partnerships in the tertiary health care sector, APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh stated that private hospitals will continue to treat patients and medical tourists in their facilities and that this will add to the country’s revenue.
“We will continue to help the government in treating patients who can afford health care on their own, and this will reduce the burden of the public health care system,” Dr Kuljit told CodeBlue, after Budget 2023 was tabled in Parliament today.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) was allocated a budget of RM36.1 billion for the year 2023, marking a large 11.5 per cent increase, or RM3.7 billion, from the 2022 budget of RM32.4 billion.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw unprecedented public-private partnerships between the public and private health care sectors, as general practitioners (GPs) played a large role in vaccinating people under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, while private hospitals took in non-Covid patients from government hospitals that were overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.
The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) received an increase of RM5 million for the year 2023, bringing its total budget from RM15 million in the year 2022 to RM20 million for next year.
According to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, the allocation was given to MHTC to “strengthen Malaysia’s position as a destination of choice for health travellers.”
While the private health care sector continues to provide assistance, Dr Kuljit noted that the budget MOH receives is meant for the treatment of patients who “require [the] public health care system.”
“We hope the government will continuously allow private health care to remain in its current structure without disruption of its business model. In return private hospitals will be able to give more support to the public hospitals,” said Dr Kuljit.
In a panel discussion at the Health Policy Summit 2022, the Private Healthcare Productivity Nexus found that 20 per cent of resources in private hospitals were underutilised, while public hospitals were overburdened.
Dr Jacob Thomas, a member of the panel and the chairman of the Private Healthcare Productivity Nexus, had strongly recommended that the MOH foster collaboration between public and private sectors.