The Malaysian Medical Association says medical personnel at the district level and government-run hospitals are overworked as there is an acute shortage of manpower.
MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said staff at these government departments were struggling to cope with the surge in cases of Covid-19.
Subramaniam said currently district health officers were tasked with the daily Covid-19 management duties of triaging, screening, assessing, contact tracing, monitoring and home monitoring of Category 1 and 2 Covid-19 patients.
He said apart from this, they also managed acute and chronic non-Covid-19 cases on a daily basis.
“The district health officers feel like they are pulled in every direction and with the surge in cases, the system is on the verge of collapse,” he said in a statement.
Subramaniam said the health ministry must take a serious view of the situation and urgently solve the manpower shortages especially in the Klang Valley which has the highest number of cases.
He said continued shortages in personnel would lead to compromises in the standard of care and further burnout among healthcare personnel.
Subramaniam added cases of Covid-19 had already spread into the community and the government should expect a continued rise of cases in the coming weeks.
“We can’t afford to wait for the situation to worsen. Immediate steps are needed,” he said.
Subramaniam also said the health ministry should consider roping in housemen awaiting posting, medical students, nursing students and also medical assistants with basic medical knowledge and training to help on the ground with contact tracing.
He said the monitoring of Covid-19 in categories 1 and 2 cases should be digitalised and linked to MySejahtera.
Subramaniam said with proper monitoring and coordination enabled through digitalisation, more private general practitioners would also be willing to participate in its programmes.
“The health ministry should also go paperless and digitalise as much as possible as it can greatly reduce the time staff is spending on paperwork,” he said.
As for non-Covid-19 cases, Subramaniam said it was time for the government to rope in the services of private practitioners.
He said a number of these acute and chronic cases, for a nominal fee, could be outsourced to private clinics or private hospitals. “The health ministry cannot take on this fight against Covid-19 on its own. It needs all the help it can get right now.” - FMT