Provision of Healthcare Should Not be Treated as a Commodity

This letter was addressed to the Editor of The Star from the Director General of Health Malaysia

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Dear Editor,

The Ministry of Health (MOH) would like to refer to a letter published in The Star on 12 June 2015 titled ‘Choking over Hospital’s High Fees’. MOH monitors the maximum chargeable fees for both registered Medical and Dental Practitioners practicing in private hospitals based on the fee schedule (Thirteenth Schedule) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006 and these Medical Practitioners and Dental Practitioners in private hospitals are required to adhere to this schedule in charging their professional fees such as consultation and performance of procedures.

In addition, fees other than the professional fees, i.e. the hospital fees such as fees for accommodation, laboratory investigations, nursing care and procedures, use of equipment and operation room, drugs used and other fees are not regulated. Hence, the total cost of medical treatment at private hospitals is relatively more expensive and comparable with the total cost incurred in a public hospital, which is highly subsidised by the Government.

MOH is serious in handling any grievance arising from high fees of treatment at private hospitals and would like to emphasise that healthcare should not be treated merely as a commodity and should closely adhere to ethical principles in the provision of healthcare by both private hospitals and professionals.

With reference to the complainant’s letter on his dissatisfaction on the high fees charged to him after seeking treatment for an ENT procedure at a private hospital, the hospital is required to manage the complaints including conducting necessary and appropriate investigations to the complainant’s satisfaction. There are provisions under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and its regulations which require the private hospitals to establish grievance mechanism and procedures to deal with public grievance against the facilities and services provided within the private hospitals. Unsatisfied complainants may forward their complaints to MOH for further investigations at the following address:

Director

Medical Practice Division

Ministry of Health Malaysia

Level 3, Block E1, Complex E

Federal Government Administrative Centre

62590 PUTRAJAYA

Tel: 03-8883 1302

Fax: 03-8883 1328

Email: dr.harshinderjeet@moh.gov.my

Thank you.

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

Director General of Health Malaysia

30 June 2015

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