Easing the congestion in public hospitals

Today in the Star, the Health Minister announced a plan

PUCHONG: Patients at government hospitals may soon be able to go for follow-up treatment at private clinics near their homes.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said this was to ease congestion in public hospitals and make it more convenient for these patients.
He said the move would not only cut down waiting time, it would also free up public hospitals for more serious cases.
“If, say, someone went for surgery in a public hospital, he would need to see a doctor to check the stitches, or monitor possible side effects.
“Normally, patients would have to go to a government hospital for follow-up (treatment) but we are trying to take the innovative approach and send them to private general practitioners near their homes,” he said at a community health awareness programme here.
While the study was still in its preliminary stage, the exercise should not cost the Government much, he said.
“Every time a patient goes to any public hospital for a check-up, it still costs us money.
“So why not pass the patient and the cost to a private GP? It should cost the goverment the same amount,” he said.
Liow urged the public not to dwell too much on the cost, saying that it would be “futile in the discussion to innovate healthcare service”.

In a sense this is “local outsourcing” to private GP clinics and if it works will be a way to reduce congestion at Government OPDs. The question of how it will be run and how GPs will be reimbursed remains to be seen. The topic is also being discussed by doctors in the closed Dobbs forum (registration is free if you are a Malaysian medical doctor)

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