KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that it will expand its extended operating hours pilot project to five additional klinik kesihatan across the country.
The decision came after Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (HTAR) reported a 54 per cent decrease in green zone patient arrivals at its Emergency and Trauma Department since Klang’s Klinik Kesihatan Bandar Botanik (KKBB) extended its operating hours until 9.30pm every day, including Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.
The selected klinik kesihatan, located in Gombak, Hulu Langat, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, and Kuala Lumpur, will follow suit and extend their operating hours under the pilot project, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said in a statement today.
“As of April 9, 2023, the average arrival of green zone patients to HTAR’s Emergency and Trauma Department has recorded a 54 per cent decline. This decreasing trend is more pronounced on Saturdays and Sundays and corresponds to an increase in patient arrivals to KKBB following an extension to the latter’s operating hours on March 25,” Dr Zaliha said.
The extended operating hours at the klinik kesihatan are expected to provide various services including medical examinations, minor ailment treatment, family medicine specialist services, laboratory tests, and X-ray imaging.
These services require not just medical doctors but other health care professionals and allied health care workers.
Despite this expansion, the MOH has yet to disclose how it will finance the extended operating hours for all the participating clinics in the pilot project.
CodeBlue previously reported that the MOH issued a directive to limit the allowance paid to medical officers working extended hours at public health clinics, despite the ministry’s appeal for doctors to help ease overcrowding at government hospital emergency rooms.
The directive limits incentive payments to medical officers on duty to four hours, despite extended hours at klinik kesihatan operating from 5pm to 9.30pm on weekdays and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays.
Currently, 52 klinik kesihatan across the country offer extended-hour services, but the pilot project’s operating hours are significantly longer, extending beyond noon on Saturdays and staying open until 9.30pm on regular working days, Sundays, and public holidays.
Alongside the extended operating hours at health clinics, the government is implementing seven other solutions to ease overcrowding in government hospitals.
These include the MADANI Medical Scheme, a review of relevant acts and guidelines, the implementation of LEAN management, and an expansion of virtual health care services.
Additionally, communication strategies through behavioural insight are being employed to enhance patient education and engagement.
“The Ministry encourages patients who do not have critical illnesses to seek treatment at klinik kesihatan. This approach can assist doctors and health care personnel in providing immediate treatment to critical patients in the emergency departments at government hospitals,” Dr Zaliha said.