95 private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients

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Ninety-five private hospitals have agreed to come on board to treat Covid-19 patients as the public healthcare system reaches breaking point.

Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had identified 130 private hospitals with the capability to treat Covid-19 cases, of which 95 have agreed to open their doors to coronavirus patients.

Noor Hisham said this includes hospitals which are equipped to treat more advanced Covid-19 cases.

The ministry is still waiting for response from the remaining hospitals.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on January 17 that decanting patients to private hospitals will help reduce the pressure on public hospitals and the heavily burdened health workers.

Daily Covid-19 infections have been steadily climbing over the past few months, with the country registering 186,849 cases from the start of the pandemic with 689 deaths. Current active cases stand at 41,076 with 261 patients in intensive care units (ICU).

“There will be 1,286 hospital beds, 65 ICU beds and 54 ventilators available at the 95 private hospitals,” Noor Hisham said in a special Zoom briefing today.

“This is a good development because we only started negotiating (with private hospitals) on January 23. The response has been good.”

He said the private sector had been helping the ministry during the second wave of the pandemic, including allowing their staff to serve in public healthcare facilities.

Elaborating on the collaboration between the public and private healthcare sector, Noor Hisham said the ministry will help in terms of loaning private hospitals the required medication for Covid-19 treatment.

He added that expatriate patients, including those working in embassies and patients who have the financial means to be treated at private hospitals, can enlist their service.

Noor Hisham said the government preferred to take on a soft approach by engaging with the private healthcare sector, although the provision of the emergency ordinance empowers authorities to take over resources.

He also added that the public-private integration was a good outcome that arose after the ministry sounded the alarm that public health resources were at breaking point.

Noor Hisham had also said earlier that the ministry is hoping that the growth of new daily Covid-19 cases will stabilise in these two weeks, as Malaysia reported its lowest number of new cases in more than a week in the past 24 hours.

The country reported 3,048 new cases today. The last time it reported a figure lower than today was on January 13, when there were 2,985 cases.

Noor Hisham added that the R-naught has gone down to 1.06 from 1.2, but the ministry has set a target to further reduce the R-naught to below 1.0. – TMI