Proposal to outsource ambulance services


Tuesday September 26, 2006

Proposal to outsource ambulance services

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has proposed outsourcing ambulance services to the private sector to overcome issues like the lack of trained personnel and maintenance of vehicles.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the Economic Planning Unit was studying the ministrys proposal, which was submitted in June.

Our problems are basically lack of trained personnel accompanying the ambulance, the attitude of drivers and poor maintenance of the ambulances.

"So it is better to rent the ambulances or outsource the service to the private sector based on the number of ambulances they can offer.

We will only accept their offer if the rates are appropriate and do not burden the Government.

"In many countries, ambulance services are outsourced and operated separately from the hospital setting, he said.

Dr Chua said presently there were 1,000 ambulances in the country, with an additional 800 to be purchased under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

He said this after launching the special discounted indemnity insurance scheme introduced by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) in collaboration with the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

The professional indemnity insurance for young non-specialist government doctors is to create awareness of clinical risk management as well as encourage the officers to practise with medical indemnity cover.


Govt gives up on hopeless ambulance service

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has given up on trying to correct the attitude of civil servants to provide satisfactory ambulance service at government hospitals.

“The attitude of drivers and lack of trained personnel have given us no choice but to to privatise the service,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

He said a proposal on this was submitted to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) last June (2006) and the ministry was awaiting approval.

"The ambulance service has been a headache for the government. New vehicles are breaking down after only four years due to poor handling.

“Because of this, we feel it is better to rent the ambulances or pay to use the private ones available,” he told reporters after launching a “Special Discounted Indemnity Insurance Scheme for Young Medical Doctors” here today (Sept 26, 2006).

Chua was replying to a question on public complaints on the “slow and inefficient” ambulance service.

To date, there is currently about 1,000 ambulances at government hospitals nationwide, with 800 more new ambulances to be bought under the NinthMalaysia Plan (9MP).

However, Chua cautioned that a large number of ambulances need not necessarily guarantee quality services.

“It’s akin to being at a restaurant. The presence of many waiters does not mean that your food will arrive fast,” he added.

At the function, Chua presented a cheque for RM10,000 from the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) to the family of the late Dr Norbaizura Yahya.

Norbaizura, 24, who was attached with the Seremban Hospital, died two weeks ago after going into a 16-day coma following an accident involving an ambulance in Bangi last month.

Updated: 05:12PM Tue, 26 Sep 2006