Health budget cuts ail patients
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.