MoH to focus on strengthening public-private partnerships, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry (MoH) remains steadfast in strengthening collaborations between public and private healthcare facilities to acquire specialised services, particularly in cardiothoracic surgery.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said such collaborations are important given the critical need for their services, especially amid the shortage of specialists in government healthcare facilities.

He said it is crucial for the ministry to present a package that addresses not only financial aspects, but also the personnel's professional future.

"As minister, I personally view this matter very seriously. What I want is for us not to overlook those who are already in the service.

"While we can offer allowances, incentives, locum and on-call duties, what we ultimately desire is not just their continued service, but to instill values in them so that they will stay despite the challenges," he said in response to a supplementary question from Jamaludin Yahya (PN-Pasir Salak) during the question-and-answer session in Dewan Rakyat today.

Lee Chuan How (PH-Ipoh Timor) also asked a question about the outsourcing of treatment for patients

at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) in Ipoh.

On this matter, Dr Dzulkefly said this practice was necessitated by the absence of cardiothoracic surgery services at HRPB, where only cardiologists are available.

When referring to the yearly statistics, he said the ministry has sent 20 patients to KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, another 361 patients to the National Heart Institute, and 349 patients to health facilities in Penang.

"We have 14 cardiothoracic surgeons working in the Health Ministry, and we have seven cardiac centres out of 10 premises that have cardiology services," he said.

Earlier, Lee inquired about the number of medical officers in the fields of cardiothoracic surgery and family medicine who are currently in training.

In response, Dr Dzulkefly said 23 medical officers from the Health Ministry are currently undergoing specialised training in cardiothoracic surgery, with seven under the medical master's programme and 16 through the parallel pathway.

As for family medicine, he said 1,938 medical officers are pursuing this specialisation, with 390 under the medical master's programme and 1,548 through the parallel pathway.

Dr Dzulkefly said between 2020 and 2024, the ministry has spent RM2.6 million for medical officers pursuing specialisation in cardiothoracic surgery; while it was spending RM68.1 million for those pursuing family medicine.

"There are no costs incurred for training facilities for both fields because training is conducted using Health Ministry and public university facilities."

He urged for cardiothoracic specialists who have left the public service to continue contributing their expertise to the community public regardless of whichever sector they end up in.

"We are trying to attract them in various ways. We want to increase pull factors and reduce push factors.

"Even those who have left (the MoH), they are not entirely leaving their work in serving the community. They still provide services to the people.

"That is why it is important to establish public-private collaboration even if they go to the private sector. We can still benefit from their services," he said.

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