KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 – Only between 28 per cent and 42 per cent of Ministry of Health (MOH) ambulances arrivals from 2016 to 2022 met the target of 15 minutes or under for critical emergency cases.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, in a written parliamentary reply last Tuesday to Ipoh Timor MP Howard Lee Chuan How from Perak, said the states that exceeded the national average performance last year were Johor, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Perlis, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Putrajaya, Kelantan, and Pahang.
The minister did not provide a specific response to Lee’s question on the monthly percentage of critical emergency cases awaiting an hour or longer for arrival of MOH ambulances from January 2013 to December 2022.
“Based on our monitoring, MOH has implemented several additional initiatives to improve the quality of this service, such as the Klang Valley Ambulance Services (KVAS) that began on December 1, 2022, besides strengthening cooperation with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and St. John Ambulance Malaysia in creating hotspots for the placement of ambulances near communities nationwide,” Dr Zaliha said.
She added that MOH is awaiting the supply of 590 new ambulances, as the ministry has applied for the replacement and addition of ambulances nationwide.
“MOH’s pre-hospital and ambulance treatment service requires medium-term and long-term attention and solutions, where action is needed from central agencies like the lack of funds, the lack of health care staff and positions, the issue of contract appointments and absorption into permanent positions, deficient and dilapidated facilities and medical equipment, as well as a comprehensive digitalisation transformation at the emergency and trauma department,” Dr Zaliha said.
“Besides that, people also play an important role in practising a healthier lifestyle, prioritising their personal health and safety, and increasing health literacy to reduce the risk of infectious or non-communicable disease.”
The minister did not explain how all of these issues affect ambulance arrival times.