No plans for MoH takeover of haemodialysis centre in Seremban

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye speaks during an interview with Malay Mail January 31, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye speaks during an interview with Malay Mail January 31, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, March 10 — The Health Ministry does not plan to take over Mawar Haemodialysis Centre (MHC), preferring to let private operators or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operate and maintain the centre.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said it would be the ministry’s last resort to take over the centre.

“If can, we would rather have private (entity) to run it. Over the years, we worked closely with private and NGOs. Mawar is the first incident where a private centre has been closed due to internal problems,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after attending the national Medical Assistants Day, Dr Lee was asked to comment on a report where MCA urged the ministry to reopen the haemodialysis centre as many patients were forced to travel long distances to seek treatment.

State party chief Siow Koi Voon was quoted by The Star as saying that there was a pressing need for this after two patients died within a fortnight due to a combination of factors.

In response, Dr Lee said there was a 13.4 per cent mortality rate among kidney patients annually.

“That is the natural process. While every death is a tragedy no doubt but we also got to be realistic. Patients with end stage kidney failure, there is an intrinsic 13.4 per cent rate of mortality every year,” he said.

On the ministry’s part, Dr Lee said it was trying to accommodate patients who are unable to relocate to private centres for dialysis.

“Government hospitals are opening up facilities to accommodate these patients. Some of our facilities are working over time until 2am. As far as possible, we will try to accommodate them and make sure those who need dialysis will receive treatment,” he added.

The ministry, added Dr Lee, was still looking for possible amicable solutions to the whole issue.

“We have advised them to downgrade the hospital licence to haemodialysis centre. Unfortunately, despite given time, they still failed to submit the application to convert the centre,” he said.

The ministry was also trying to revive the hospital licence by bringing in a third party.

“In the meantime, we are doing whatever we can by opening facilities to accommodate patients. Our promise is all (MHC) patients will be given dialysis.

“Those in need will not be turned away. The ministry is taking the responsibility to make sure they undergo dialysis at private or government facilities,” he added.