Clinics with no patience
Annie Freeda Cruez
KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 457 medical establishments nationwide failed to comply with the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and remained unregistered with the Health Ministry.
There were also doctors who operated clinics before getting approval from the state Health Department or the Health Ministry.
And there were those who provided complimentary care and allopathic medical care without authorisation, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said.
“Organisations, big or small, must exercise accountability in continually improving the quality of their services and safeguarding the standard of care,” he told the New Straits Times.
He cautioned that doctors performing medical procedures and operations must do so at registered facilities.
While some establishments are in the process of registration, others are renewing their licences.
Dr Ismail also raised concerns over the number of unlicensed private haemodialysis centres.
A total of 82 out of 452 centres are unlicensed.
Action will be taken to ensure that only licensed haemodialysis centres are allowed to provide treatment.
Some, he said, simply refused to comply because of the ministry giving “leeway ” in providing infrastructure, such as the dimension and size of certain areas or rooms, which were esigned for patients’ comfort and safety.
He also said there was an acute shortage of qualified and experienced professionals (affiliated nephrologists and persons in charge) and paraprofessional staff (registered nurses and medical assistants) overseeing haemodialysis treatments at private haemodialysis centres and hospitals.
Dr Ismail was also alarmed that only 20 per cent of the private dental clinics registered last year had an autoclave with a certificate of fitness from the Department of Safety.
A total of 1,442 clinics were registered in 2008 and of the number, 1,303 were inspected and only 20 per cent had an autoclave with CF.
Worse was the fact that a few clinics were still using boilers to sterilise their instruments.
“Private dental clinics need to improve on their safety and health aspects, especially in terms of infection control. We know that almost 20 per cent do not comply with current guidelines,” Dr Ismail said.
Last year, there were 1,547 private dental clinics registered with the Malaysian Medical Council.
Following inspections in 2008, clinics found lacking on infection control were advised to equip themselves.
The Malaysian Dental Association has also planned a series of talks for practitioners.
Dr Ismail said in dentistry, patient safety concerns were mainly in the areas of infection control and radiation safety.
Infection control and radiation safety are among the areas inspected under the regulations of the act.
Dr Ismail said the Dental Act 1971 was also being amended.
“Various changes have been made to this act, including conducting a qualifying examination for those without recognised qualifications to register as practising dentists in Malaysia.”
In addition, specialist registration will be made mandatory.