PETALING JAYA: The congestion at emergency departments at certain public hospitals has reduced after operating hours at selected government health clinics were extended, says health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
She said the number of patients at Tengku Aminah Rahimah Hospital’s emergency department dropped by 54% since it moved its green zone (non-emergency) department to the Bandar Botanik health clinic in Klang, which extended its operating hours to 9.30pm.
“The downward trend is more obvious on weekends and this tallies with the increase in patients at the health clinics following the implementation of the pilot project on March 25,” she said in a statement today.
Describing the pilot project as a success, Zaliha said the ministry will expand it to five more government clinics in Gombak, Hulu Langat, Ipoh, Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur.
She said the ministry is implementing other mid- and long-term initiatives to tackle overcrowding in hospitals, especially at the emergency departments, including reviewing existing guidelines and expanding virtual healthcare services.
On March 11, Zaliha announced extended hours at 52 health clinics nationwide to reduce overcrowding in hospital emergency departments.
The operating hours for health clinics in the Klang Valley were extended from 8am to 9.30pm from Monday to Friday. They are also open from 8am to noon on Saturdays.
In Kedah, Kelantan and Johor, the operating hours were also extended to 9.30pm from Sunday to Thursday. They are open from 8am to noon on Saturday.
Zaliha had also called on private general practitioners and contract doctors to take part in the initiative to extend operating hours at some health clinics to ensure its success.