Pharmacists want better, more inclusive healthcare system

Health practitioners have been told to drop the call for a royal commission on healthcare as there is now a new government in place. (Google pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Health practitioners have been urged to give the new Pakatan Harapan government a chance to implement the healthcare programme laid out in its election manifesto.

“With the right amount of public and professional engagement, the new government has a real opportunity to chart a new course for the health of the Malaysian people,” Amrahi Buang, the president of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, said in a statement today.

He said there had been calls by some for a royal commission on healthcare, but now that a new government was in place, health practitioners should drop that call.

Amrahi said it was easy to blame problems in the healthcare system on big businesses and over-regulation, but that “the truth is that there exists a public-private dichotomy in our healthcare system”.

“On one hand, we have a highly subsidised healthcare model with high demand, a heavy workload and long waiting time for bigger institutions with very high patient loads. On the other is one of high out-of-pocket costs and limited access to those that need it the most.”

Solving this, he said, would require all the best minds in the country.

Saying the patient was the cornerstone of the healthcare system, Amrahi added that they should be given the right information at the right time and accorded transparency and control over their healthcare decisions.

“A truly inclusive health system is one that recognises the knowledge and expertise of each professional and, allowing healthcare policies and decisions to reflect that diversity of opinions, is united in wanting the best outcome for the patient.

“Health professionals should unite in this mission to put control back into the hands of the patient. There is an urgent need to band together to promote wellness initiatives and provide health information closer to the people.

“Armed with the relevant health information, counselled by the family physician or the community pharmacist, the rakyat can practise responsible self-care and join in wellness initiatives.

“This will in turn reduce the burden on our existing health infrastructure as the patients only visit clinics and hospitals when they need to.”