Budget 2024: Healthcare budget insufficient, says specialist

VEISHNAWI NEHRU
VEISHNAWI NEHRU
13 Oct 2023 10:09pm
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said that the amount allocated to healthcare should be sufficient, and that it shows that the government is serious about addressing the issue of rising healthcare costs. - FILE PIX by Bernama
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said that the amount allocated to healthcare should be sufficient, and that it shows that the government is serious about addressing the issue of rising healthcare costs. - FILE PIX by Bernama
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SHAH ALAM - The amount of money allocated to healthcare in Budget 2024 needs to be increased, according to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Faculty of Medicine Public Health Medicine Specialist Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh.

"First issue is that our income for healthcare is highly subsidised and most treatments are done once patients reach a critical level.

"This is evidenced by late detection of cancers, late detection of kidney diseases (hence they need dialysis) and not enough emphasis on prevention and health promotion activities," she told Sinar Daily.

Dr Sharifa said that while the incentives in Budget 2024 are welcome, they are not holistic, as prevention measures need to be stressed.

"We don't have new vaccines that are homegrown, no local halal vaccines and not enough drugs locally manufactured.

"Most are bought from pharmaceutical companies that are based overseas at a costly price, and we cannot supply our local population demands," she said.

She also commented on the refurbishment of 400 old clinics, saying that it is commendable, but questioned whether there are enough human resources to manage them.

"Treatment of chronic disease also needs more priority and not wait until cases or diseases develop complications as what is happening now.

"She added that with the burden of an ageing society and high mental health issues, manpower training does not reflect this need yet in the public sector," she added.

Dr Sharifa also expressed concern about the electronic health management systems, saying that they must be robust to reduce data loss, increase retrievability and be used for future value-based reimbursements.

Meanwhile, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said that the amount allocated to healthcare should be sufficient, and that it shows that the government is serious about addressing the issue of rising healthcare costs.

"We are happy to assist the government in the outsourcing budget from public to private but it has to be expedited immediately as patients are waiting to be treated as we speak," he said.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz said that the MMA was pleased to hear that the Madani Medical Scheme will be expanded.

However, he hoped that the scheme would include non-communicable disease (NCD) management as it will encourage higher participation from the private GPs and as a result, significantly reduce overcrowding at public healthcare facilities.