Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Covid-19: Private hospitals ready to assist

PETALING JAYA: Private hospitals are ready to assist the government to rein in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We had met with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday and had told him we are happy to assist the government for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients based on our capability and capacity, ” Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia’s (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh (pic) told StarBiz.

“We are waiting for more details on how the mechanism is going to work out and costing since we don’t have financial support from the Finance Ministry, ” Kuljit added.

He said the decision to let Covid-19 patients into private hospitals would be made by the hospital groups.

“Note that some hospitals are very small and have only limited number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds since they are expensive to maintain. The smaller hospitals can usually have up to three ICU beds while the bigger ones has up to 10, ” Kuljit said.

“While we are ready to take on the load from the government, we also cannot deny private hospital patients the timely treatment since some procedures are not available at the public hospitals, ” he added.

Kuljit said APHM would discuss further details on the coming arrangement between the private hospitals and government.

“There are a lot of logistics and standard operating procedures that the hospitals would have to think about as to how to cater with the additional patient load, whether Covid or non-Covid, ” he said.

Meanwhile, KPJ Healthcare Bhd’s president and CEO Ahmad Shahizam Mohd Shariff told StarBiz that the group is keen to support the government.

“I see it like a public-private partnership and this needs to be on a commercial basis with the costs also being reflected on the services we will provide. We will know the specifics on Wednesday, ” Ahmad Shahizam said.

KPJ is the biggest private hospital by bed count capacity in Malaysia.

In his speech yesterday, Muhyiddin said several Emergency Ordinances may be promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the purpose of curbing the Covid-19 pandemic.This included matters relating to the use of private hospital assets, temporary acquisition of land, buildings or private hospital movable assets or making requests for the use of private hospital resources for the purpose of treating Covid-19 patients.

“The government may seek more inclusive involvement from the private sector, including private healthcare facilities to help ease the burden borne by government agencies, especially public hospitals. Through this ordinance, assistance to be made available by the private sector includes human resources, expertise, facilities, assets, testing laboratories and utilities, ” Muhyiddin said.

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