Health bud­get cuts ail pa­tients

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS - BY ELLY FAZANIZA

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion is con­cerned that the Health Min­istry’s bud­get cut has af­fected the qual­ity of health­care for pa­tients.

Its pres­i­dent Dr John Chew yes­ter­day said the de­crease in funds would im­pact pa­tients at gov­ern­ment-based fa­cil­i­ties.

He ex­pressed hope the min­istry would find ways to im­prove its ef­fi­ciency in deal­ing with the cuts.

In Jan­uary, the min­istry’s al­lo­ca­tion was cut by be­tween RM250 mil­lion and RM300 mil­lion. The min­istry re­cently de­nied there was a short­age of medicines de­spite claims made by some pa­tients.

“There is no short­age at public hos­pi­tals and clin­ics. What we have done is to sup­ply medicines for a month. This is to re­duce wastage,” Health Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Ab­dul­lah had said.

The is­sue arose af­ter some pa­tients claimed their sup­ply of med­i­ca­tion had been de­creased to two weeks or a month, from two to six months pre­vi­ously.

Some pa­tients have ques­tioned the min­istry’s de­nial of a short­age and said phar­ma­cists at gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals were dis­pens­ing less than their usual sup­ply of med­i­ca­tion.

Sun­gai Bu­loh pa­tient Ray­mond Ho re­vealed to theSun a phar­ma­cist told him there was in­suf­fi­cient sup­ply of medicines due to the bud­get cut.

“It is a has­sle to go back to the hospi­tal re­peat­edly and time is wasted. We also have to spend more on public trans­port and it is not easy tak­ing time off from work,” he said.

An­other pa­tient, 68-year-old re­tiree Madam Oh said: “Since they re­duced my pre­scrip­tion for eye drops from one month to two weeks, I am forced to re­duce my dosage from four drops daily to two drops. How is this go­ing to treat my glau­coma? I’m blind in one eye and have to travel by bus to Kuala Lumpur Hospi­tal more fre­quently now,” she said.

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