The Health Ministry will establish a task force comprising health officers and ministry staff whose primary task is to determine the viability and relevance of Klinik 1 Malaysia (K1M).
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the task force’s main function was to map out all of the 343 K1M’s nationwide.
K1M is the brainchild of former prime minster Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Dr Dzulkefly said he would personally go to the ground to see how the clinics functioned.
“I want to see what is happening at ground level. I want to see if the clinics are worth having, or should they be shut down,’’ he said.
“I have heard all sorts of stories, and I know that some clinics were opened to benefit some parties by way of rental.
“But I would like to see for myself if the numbers (of patients) are true and to gauge the clinics’ effectiveness,’’ he added.
The ministry has identified 33 K1M which are deemed no longer sustainable and will be permanently shut down.
Out of the 33, five are in Selangor and one in Kuala Lumpur.
The balance of 27 are located outside the Klang Valley.
Out of 26 K1Ms in Kuala Lumpur, only one clinic, the K1M in Jalan Raja Abdullah in Kampung Baru will be shut down.
The five in Selangor are K1M PJS in Kampung Lindungan, K1M Pangsapuri Angsana in Persiaran Subang Permai, K1M in Plaza Umno in Batu Caves, K1M Taman Laguna Biru in Kuang and Pusat Perniagaan Reef in Rawang.
Dzulkefly said the ministry’s family and health division would identify clinics with low accessibility (lacking access to public transportation) and small patient load for closure. “These are the ones that are no longer sustainable, cost-effective and with less than 45 patients per day,” he said adding that this was considering the clinics operated from 10am to 10pm seven days a week.
“And we also take into account that clinics are located near existing district health clinics that are within three to five km radius,’’ he said.
However, the minister added that not all clinics with low attendance would be closed down.
“For the time being we are maintaining the clinics at PPR (People’s Housing Projects) and low-income areas,’’ he said.
Dzulkefly said the ministry’s aim was to enhance primary healthcare by equipping clinics with doctors, pharmacists, lab and health screening facilities.
“We will focus on providing a more comprehensive outpatient care particularly treatment for diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and chronic non-communicable diseases. We want to create a more person-centred care for the community.
“We hope to increase compliance to therapy in order to better manage their condition and reduce long-term complications,’’ he said.
With that in mind, the ministry has identified 20 K1M throughout the country that will be upgraded into full-fledged district clinics.
“We want to use WHO’s universal health coverage (UHC) standard to ensure that everyone has access to affordable health services of sufficient quality,’’ he said, adding that they were also looking at public-private collaborations with the GPs (general practitioners).
Dzulkefly added that to achieve universal health coverage, several factors must be in place, including the need to rationalise and consolidate, and come up with the best outcome.
“We have good facilities but poor distribution; so we need to go back to the drawing board on this one,’’ he said.