Medical Charges At Government Hospitals To Go Up Next Year, Says Minister

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The newer Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu
The newer Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu is already full most of the time and patient shave been known to spend time on campbeds at the critical and semi critical ward while waiting for a vacant bed. In a few months, patients will have to dig deeper into their pockets if they are hospitalised.

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysians will be saddled with yet another additional burden as government hospitals will impose higher charges for its first and second class wards starting next year.

Dr S Subramaniam
Dr S Subramaniam

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the charges will only affect patients who choose to be placed in either of the two upper classes while rates for third-class wards remain unchanged.

Dr Subramaniam said they have yet to decide on the new charges.

A Malay daily, however, reported Monday that the increase would be by 50 percent.

“We have not raised the charges for over 30 years now. Even with the upcoming increase, these two classes are still heavily subsidised by the Government,” Dr Subramaniam told reporters at the Health Ministry office here.

He said prices and costs have gone up in the last 30 years, causing government subsidies to be increased and the only way to cut down the subsidies is by raising the fees of the wards.

“The ministry’s concern is to take care of the low-income group and for them, we won’t impose additional charges (for third-class wards).”

Dr Subramaniam noted that currently, there are only 32,000 patients in the first and second class wards out of the total two million patients in public hospitals nationwide.

Regarding the safety and maintenance of hospitals, Dr Subramaniam said a total of RM55mil has been deducted from contractual payments to five concessionaires by the ministry for failure to meet contract requirements.

The deductions were made between April last year and August this year.

He cited failure to meet contract requirements, project deadlines and poor service delivery as reasons for the deduction.

“If their performance is very bad, rest assured that we will request that such people not be given another contract.

“But if there is an element of criminality or fraud, then we will report them to the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) or the police,” he said.

Under Budget 2017, a total of RM25bil has been allocated for healthcare improvement.