KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has gone ahead with extending operating hours at 52 public health clinics across the country, despite previous criticisms from government doctors against the proposal due to staff shortages.
MOH tweeted today a list of 52 klinik kesihatan in 14 states and federal territories – except Terengganu and Labuan – that will mostly operate extended hours from 5pm to 9.30pm from Mondays on weekdays and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays, to reduce congestion in the emergency departments in public hospitals.
Weekdays are Mondays to Fridays in Perlis, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Sabah, and Penang, and Melaka; whereas Sundays to Thursdays are weekdays in Kedah, Johor, and Kelantan.
The extended hours for three public health clinics located in Kuching, Bintulu, and Sibu in Sarawak are only on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm.
Extended hours at klinik kesihatan was among Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa’s seven measures to reduce overcrowding in emergency rooms.
Dr Khairul Hafidz Alkhair, founder and chairman of influential doctors’ group MedTweetMY, tweeted last month that although the minister’s proposals were good, staff shortages were the most urgent problem.
“Why isn’t the issue of adding more staff stressed? That is the most basic issue,” he had said.
A primary care medical officer serving at a public health clinic in Selangor recently interviewed by CodeBlue complained that introducing multiple programmes that are similar to existing ones, but with a new label, stretches existing staff to their limits without additional workers for extra programmes.