The health ministry has begun drawing up plans to resolve the issue of overcrowding at emergency and trauma departments to improve services to the people.
Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the ministry was also looking at all the latest data, conducting audit and research related to the workload and overcrowding at emergency and trauma departments nationwide, especially in specialist hospitals, to identify the problems.
“Efforts to overcome this issue must involve various quarters and stakeholders.
“For example, to find out the specific problems and needs according to each state, the ministry will hold engagement sessions with relevant stakeholders.
“This includes the emergency department itself, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) and the private sector.
“This is very important because a more holistic approach needs to be taken to deal with this issue, based on more specific data and information,” she said in a statement today.
Zaliha said the health ministry consistently tried to address the issue by holding discussions and requesting both funds and additional staff from the government to overcome the shortage of manpower, equipment and infrastructure.
“At the same time, various initiatives have also been implemented by the ministry to improve the efficiency of handling patients.”
She said the overcrowding issue had also been reported in the Auditor-General’s Report 2018, which was published on June 24, 2019.
It identified causes contributing to the congestion, including insufficient allocations, a shortage of health personnel and a lack of facilities to meet patients’ needs.
The issue was not only faced by the emergency and trauma departments but also the outpatient clinics, inpatient wards and health clinics.
Zaliha said the problem also occurred in other countries.
The International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM), in a statement, had stated that based on a survey of 41 IFEM member countries in November this year, 100% of them had reported the issue at their respective emergency departments.
Meanwhile, Zaliha said the ministry would also look at the possibility of having strategic collaborations with the private sector, including general medical practitioners, to further strengthen primary healthcare.
“This collaboration may be able to reduce patient attendance at the emergency departments and health clinics,” she said.
Zaliha also reminded all parties that the emergency and trauma department’s function was to provide treatment to individuals really in need of emergency care.
“As such, the ministry will work with related agencies to intensify awareness campaigns about the primary purpose of the emergency department,” she added. – FMT