IJN Discharging All Civil Servants, Pensioners Due To Government Cost-Cutting Measures — Pensioner Failed By The Government

IJN is discharging all civil servants and pensioners to MOH cardiac centres, following an MOH directive due to government cost-cutting measures, says a pensioner recently discharged from IJN. His condition is complex and his meds are unavailable in MOH.

At a recent visit to our National Heart Centre (Institut Jantung Negara, IJN), I was shocked to be informed that I was being discharged. This happened despite 25 years of my receiving extensive care at IJN with many admissions and multiple procedures.

I was informed that the reason I was being discharged was a Ministry of Health (MOH) directive that all civil servants and pensioners should be discharged to the MOH cardiac centre nearest their home.

I protested that my problem was highly complicated; the IJN senior cardiologist agreed with me. But I was told that their hands were tied as the government was cutting costs.

I found out that my predicament has been shared by numerous other pensioners and civil servants, all over the country, these past months.

So, with a, literally, sinking heart, I returned home and arranged to see the doctors at the MOH cardiac centre near my home. This was not easy as I had to make an appointment and the clinic was busy.

I finally got to see the doctor two and half months later; I was concerned as I was going to run out of medication soon.

The doctor I saw was a young medical officer. One look at my referral letter from IJN, with my complicated problems, she looked worried and immediately spoke to the cardiologist.

Fortunately, she pushed for me to see the cardiologist the same day; I am very thankful to her. The cardiologist I met was a pleasant, young man. I found out that he had just qualified as a cardiologist in the past six months or so.

He was very thorough in his examination and assessment and then said to me, “Uncle, you should not be managed at our centre. We only have three cardiologists here and all of us do not have the expertise to handle your case.”

I had already recognised this because, at IJN, the senior cardiologist often involved two or three other colleagues in discussing my case; sometimes with extra cardiologists coming into the cardiac laboratory to support each other during each of my many complicated procedures.

So, while I was “stable” at the time of my untimely discharge from IJN, my condition often deteriorated suddenly.

In addition, the young MOH cardiologist said, “I am also afraid, Uncle, that we do not have a number of the drugs that you are on and will have to use substitutes”. This made me very worried as I have a number of drug allergies.

IJN had gone through a number of drugs before they found the ones that both worked and were safe for me to use.

The MOH cardiologist then said he would write a new referral for me to go back to IJN, and that I would have to make an appointment with IJN as a new patient and hopefully get back the same senior cardiologist.

This would be another hassle and possibly two to three months of waiting, or longer.

Yes, I recognise that the reason for the MOH directive was a cost-saving one – no need to pay IJN for the many pensioners and civil servants that use its services.

But I asked myself many searching questions.

Surely there should be some common sense in allowing the IJN cardiologist to choose who can be sent back to MOH centres and who they should keep due to the complicated nature of their disease and care?

After all, IJN is our National Heart Centre, a centre of excellence.

Why is MOH deteriorating cardiac services in the country?

I faithfully served the country as a civil servant for 35 years. Is this how I am repaid? Is this the Madani way to treat pensioners?

If anyone says it is a simple matter to go and get a new referral back to IJN, I would like to give that person a swift kick in their backsides. The hassle to everyone is enormous, especially with busy cardiology services in IJN and MOH.

If I sound distressed, it is because I am! I could be far more aggressively vocal for all the hardship and distress that this has caused me and my loved ones.

I plead with the Madani government and anyone who will listen at MOH, please do not continue with this blanket directive and have a return to sanity.

I say with all honesty that I probably would be dead, if not for the prompt and expert care I received at IJN from senior cardiologists.

CodeBlue is providing the author anonymity because the author is a patient who does not wish to be named and simply wishes to be known as a pensioner.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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