KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 – Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan suggested today a special lane for the police, Armed Forces, and military veterans in public hospitals’ emergency departments.
During an intervention into Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa’s winding-up speech on the 12th Malaysia Plan’s mid-term review in the Dewan Rakyat, the Opposition MP from Perikatan Nasional (PN) said the request came from many police officers, military personnel, and veterans who have met with him.
“They asked for a few privileges for those in the uniformed services, many of whom are from the police force. They requested that when they come with their family members, they can get a special lane so that they don’t have to queue up,” Wan Saiful said.
“With their sacrifices for the country, maybe they shouldn’t have to queue up too long, especially in the emergency department. So I ask, if possible, that the Ministry consider this proposal for a special lane for uniformed staff and retirees from the uniformed services.”
Dr Zaliha responded: “We will try to consider that suggestion.”
In a letter to New Straits Times published yesterday, a military veteran complained about not getting “fast-tracked” to a doctor’s room after registering as an outpatient at a government hospital. Staff also told him that he was not entitled to free treatment.
A doctor from Serdang Hospital in Selangor, who wrote to CodeBlue last December, previously complained about priority treatment for Very Important Persons (VIPs) in emergency departments and specialist clinics across public hospitals, amid long queues and more critically ill patients waiting for care.
“VIPs are any head of any government department, any high-ranking officer in any ministry, their relatives, Datuk, Tan Sri, or well-connected people,” the doctor wrote, claiming that such VIPs would get fast-tracked for treatment based on orders from the head of department or hospital director, even if they presented at the emergency department with a stable condition.
Then Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah denied the allegation, saying that Ministry of Health (MOH) policy was clear in prioritising “emergency and urgent cases” and that the only special lane in government hospitals was for the elderly.
Dr Zaliha also told Parliament today that the Special Task Force on Agency Reform (STAR) pilot project to decant non-critical patients from hospital emergency departments by extending operating hours at public health clinics has been expanded to five klinik kesihatan in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, and Johor.
She said last June that the STAR pilot project had reduced non-critical emergency cases at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang by 32 per cent, after the implementation of extended hours at Klinik Kesihatan Bandar Botanik to operate until 9.30pm every day, including weekends and public holidays.