Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NST: Too early to tell on 1Care, say doctors

Too early to tell on 1Care, say doctors

NST, 11.01.2011
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association welcomes the 1Care system initiated by Health Ministry but at the same time is uncertain whether the system is the most suitable one for the country.

MMA president Dr David Quek in a statement said a clearer plan on how this method of integration and implementation of healthcare services could be worked out seamlessly, was needed.

"We are unsure if the system will actually reduce the waiting time for patients because in many countries, that have similar systems, appointments to see doctors are equally long.

"While we support government's efforts to streamline and improve the healthcare system, we also look forward to a more comprehensive approach to the restructuring plans," he said.

On Sunday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said all private and government clinics would be integrated under the 1Care system when a blueprint was ready in two years.

Dr Quek said the blueprint should touch on every aspect of the system so that all the stakeholders, namely doctors, healthcare providers, hospitals and insurers, should be comprehensively debated and any potential problems should be overcome.

"Until this is available, it is pre-mature and may be difficult to implement the system which may lead to breakdown of the services initiated on new grounds."

The system was part of the restructuring of the country's healthcare system under the 10th Malaysia Plan which was drafted similar to the National Health Services (NHS) system adopted by the United Kingdom.

Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia president Datuk Dr Jacob Thomas on the other hand said that it was still early to comment on the system.

"This is just a preliminary announcement by the ministry and since it was just the initial stage, I think more discussions with all the stakeholders, including the management of private hospitals, will have to take place. It will be too premature to comment on the plan," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Medical Council has yet to come out with a statement on the new system. It was learnt that a more in-depth outline on the system would be disclosed by MMC within the next two days.

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