Medical practitioners laud Budget 2024

14 Oct 2023 09:09pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. – FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. – FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Medical practitioners lauded the Malaysia Madani Budget 2024 tabled yesterday noting that there are a number of good initiatives included in the budget for the health sector.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the amount of RM41.2 billion allocated to the Health Ministry, one of the ministries receiving the biggest increase in allocation in Budget 2024, should be substantially good.

He said it shows that the government is serious and acknowledges the fact that healthcare costs have indeed increased, similar to private healthcare, particularly at private hospitals.

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

"Methodology must be seamless so that public patients can be quickly treated in private hospitals only after the public healthcare capacity is exhausted. The budget must help the patients immediately and not to wait for new healthcare facilities to be built, which will be for the long-term solution,” he said in a statement.

At this point, Dr Kuljit said sharing resources between public and private will be the right way and hoped that private healthcare is allowed to practice without too much cost containment to allow sustainability as there will be options for patients to seek care from public hospitals with this increased allocation of budget.

The government has allocated RM41.2 billion to the Ministry of Health in Budget 2024, an increase from RM36.3 billion last year.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz said the association is pleased to hear that the Madani Medical Scheme will be expanded and hoped that the scheme would include non-communicable disease (NCD) management as it would encourage higher participation from the private general practitioners (GP) and as a result, significantly reduce overcrowding at public healthcare facilities.

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"The well-distributed 13,000 private GPs can also improve access to health services under initiatives like the Madani Medical Scheme,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the president of Persatuan Pakar Perubatan Kesihatan Awam Malaysia Prof Dr Jamalluddin Ab Rahman when contacted said the Budget 2024 themed "Economic Reformation, People Empowerment” was good to ensure the welfare of the people as well as taking into consideration, healthcare through building new hospitals.

However, he suggested that since the cost of treatment has increased significantly, it would be good if the government introduced an exemption for medical cards to ease the burden of the middle income group.

Sharing Dr Jamalluddin’s sentiment was Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh who said the addition of incentives for social insurance schemes like the Madani Healthcare and Skim Peduli Kesihatan for the B40 (PeKa B40) group should be extended to the M40 group as well.

Dr Sharifa, Professor of Hospital Management and Health Economics, Faculty of Medicine, UKM said social insurance need to be given additional focus in the future so that the lower income group and middle income group will have insurance that is suitable for them.

"Currently the focus is only on the B40 group and sadly the population of the people in the B40 keeps increasing due to the rising cost of living and medical expenses," she said.

Dr Syed Mohamad Ridhwan, a private dental care specialist regarded the Budget 2024 as the right initiative to ensure medical services and treatment in hospitals and clinics can be catered for the needs of the people.

Resident doctor at Poliklinik Dr Azhar & Rakan-rakan in Puncak Alam, Dr Khairul Idzham Abdul Khalid said the increased allocation in Budget 2024 shows the government’s concern for the people due to the rising cost of medical services, medicine and treatment. - BERNAMA