Wednesday November 1, 2006
Hospitals to get NGO help
MIRI: The St John Ambulance and the Red Crescent Society will be roped in to help government hospitals operate ambulance services in the big cities and towns nationwide.
Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said the ministry felt that the two organisations had the capability to help the hospitals, especially those facing a shortage of ambulances and manpower.
The arrangement has already started in Kuala Lumpur and will soon become a norm in other big cities and towns, particularly in peninsular Malaysia.
While issues relating to the provision of healthcare and services are basically the responsibility of the Government, the ministry feels that non-governmental organisations and community bodies can play a complementary role, he said after a four-day working visit to Miri and the surrounding rural districts.
We feel that St John Ambulance and Red Cresent Society branches in the cities and towns will be able to provide efficient ambulance services to hospitals facing serious constraints in this area.
Lee said the two bodies had already established themselves as capable of operating ambulance services and other healthcare roles in society and would be given wider responsibilities.
He cited, as an example, that the Miri Red Cresent had, for a long time, provided free ambulance service for kidney failure patients who needed to go to the Miri Kidney Dialysis centre for treatment.
Lee also met with representatives of the Miri Palliative Care, Buddhist Tzu Chi, the Mental Health Association and Loving and Care group for three hours while at Miri Hospital.
We appreciate the work of volunteers and NGOs in helping the hospital and providing post-hospitalisation care to needy patients, he added.