KUALA LUMPUR: The incidence of patients, especially the elderly, who have been abandoned in government hospital wards is becoming more worrying, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya.
He said government hospitals throughout the country received at least two abandoned patients each month with family members refusing to take them back even after they have been discharged from the hospital.
“These incidences are common now with their families leaving them at the hospital and refusing to take them home. They give all sorts of excuses.
“This should not happen. It is their responsibility to look after them, not leave them at the hospital. The hospitals are full (with patients).
“For cases like this, the Hospital’s Department of Social Work will contact the Social Welfare Department for them to contact any welfare home. The problem is that the welfare homes are also full,” he said in a press conference held after launching the Awareness Programme 2016 at the Selayang Hospital level in conjunction with the World Humanitarian Day here today.
Dr Hilmi urged that Hospital Volunteer Association activities be extended to include emotional, mental and spiritual support for the abandoned patients.
He said the Hospital Volunteer Associations currently found in all government hospitals to help meet the social, emotional and spiritual needs of patients undergoing treatment and rehabilitation should also be set up in private hospitals.
He added that the ministry had recorded 1,067 cases in hospitals involving child abuse while there were 2,014 domestic violence cases.
Meanwhile, the three-day Awareness Programme, which began yesterday, involved 12 non-governmental organisations, including the Malaysia Relief Agency and the Malaysian Red Crescent Association.
The programme, organised by the Department of Medical Social Work and Volunteer Association of Selayang Hospital, was held to foster the volunteer and humanitarian spirit among volunteers, hospital staff, the local community and the public in general.