Private hospitals not packed with influenza patients: APHM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) has clarified that private hospitals are not currently packed with influenza patients.

"Private hospitals in Malaysia are not overflowing with influenza," said president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh.

"The majority of private hospitals in Peninsular, Sabah, and Sarawak have seen an increase in admissions of influenza A, though the rate was marginally higher in July; however, the rate was not alarming enough to affect admissions for other conditions."

Dr Kuljit observed a general rise in the influx of patients seeking medical care at private hospitals, encompassing a wide range of chronic and non-chronic illnesses, alongside emergencies after the pandemic.

"We do not see a correlation with Covid-19, but it may be due to the months to two years of lockdowns and restricted movement, which may have reduced health care and monitoring," Kuljit explained.

Commenting on a separate issue, Kuljit said although multiple private hospitals possess the capacity to expand their bed count, the shortage of nurses has hindered their ability to set up additional wards.

"We in private hospitals have been constrained by a lack of personnel, particularly in the nursing field, which precludes us from increasing our bed capacity," he added.

According to Kuljit, this circumstance has led to extended waiting times for patients seeking admission.

A recent article in the New Straits Times highlighted parents' worries regarding the challenges of securing hospital beds at private medical facilities, which are predominantly operating at full capacity.

Several individuals asserted that they had to contact up to four hospitals, yet none had the capacity to admit new patients.

Kuljit warned that the situation would worsen in the coming months if the government did not address the shortage of nurses, calling on the government to consider the proposal of recruiting private foreign nurses as a quick solution to the problem.

Kuljit also urged the public to take preventive measures to halt the transmission of any respiratory virus like Covid-19 and Influenza A by wearing masks, sanitising hands, and avoiding crowds.

"In private hospitals, our readiness to manage newer strains of Covid-19 is adequate… and we are prepared with sufficient medication and space," he stressed.

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