1Malaysia Clinics – a shift in policy?
2 years ago, the PM announced the setting up of 1Malaysia clinics which were to be manned not by doctors but by Medical Assistants to provide basic medical care to areas where needed. After two years how successful has this programme been? Clearly the programme has still failed to reach the needy in some rural areas where even basic Paracetamol is out of reach.
Now the Star is reporting Private clinics want to go 1Malaysia way. From discussion in doctors’ forums I think this has caught the medical profession by surprise. One wonders who really wants what? Does the Minister mean that the Government now wants private medical practitioners to participate in 1Malaysia Clinics? Did any private medical practitioner ever approach the Government in this regard in the first place? Or is it some proposal by some big business entity?
Whatever the case this represents a sudden shift in policy and begs alot of questions. What about the funding of 1Malaysia clinics? Are those taken over now to be privatised? Or is the funding still from the Government (i.e. taxpayers) and private doctors are being hired to run the clinics?
Excerpt from the Star
Private clinics are keen to adopt the services currently provided by the 1Malaysia clinics and have spoken to the Government about it.
“They recently met me and I have told them to submit a comprehensive proposal as to how this can work,” Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.
He was speaking to reporters after opening a 1Malaysia clinic in Taman Bukit Mika, near here, yesterday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak mooted the concept in his 2010 Budget as part of the Government’s People First, Performance Now pledge to provide immediate healthcare to housing areas in need of basic health services.
Since the first 1Malaysia clinic opened in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, in December 2009, more than 100 such clinics have opened nationwide.
The community clinics are strategically located and open 12 hours daily from 10am, with qualified nurses and medical assistants providing treatment for just RM1 (non-Malaysians pay RM15).
Liow said another 50 1Malaysia clinics would be opened this year.
He added that his ministry would station doctors at 1Malaysia clinics which treat more than 100 patients daily.
He added that although senior medical assistants who currently man these facilities, were competent, it was better to station doctors where the patient volume is highest.
“This is important as these clinics help reduce congestion at government hospitals and at other health facilities,” said Liow, adding that patients could, among other things, seek treatment for flu, cough and fever and have minor wounds dressed at 1Malaysia clinics.