Cut Waste? Who Is Wasting Resources?

Posted by M ws On Sunday, August 14, 2011 6 comments
Undeniably, health care, an important social service provided by the government for citizens, must be easy, accessible, adequate in supply and affordable to the masses. Yet, our country has yet to draft and to implement a National Health Policy for the rakyat.

After reading this report, I am compelled to cut to the chase the talk about cutting waste at government hospitals.

Despite soaring health care costs, the Health Ministry has found that a substantial amount of medicine dispensed by government hospitals goes unused or expired.

According to the report, Datuk Eisah A. Rahman, the ministry's senior director of pharmaceutical services, the medicine returned to the pharmacy at various hospitals for the first half of the year was:

  • RM128,818 at Kuala Lumpur Hospital
  • RM82,436 at Sarawak General Hospital
  • RM27,899 at Seberang Jaya Hospital in Penang
  • RM53,769 at Tuanku Fauziah Hospital in Perlis
  • RM190,616 at Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital in Seremban
  • A TOTAL OF RM483 538 from just FIVE HOSPITALS!!!

The ministry is collating data from the other government hospitals. Eisah said the current figures alone reflect the amount of medicine wasted adding that it would be a substantial amount for all the hospitals.

There are 135 hospitals in the country with the ministry spending RM1.6bil on medicine in 2010, an increase of 14.48% from the previous year.

Whilst I applaud Datuk Eisah A. Rahman's courage in making this disclosure, I am quite aghast that it is only now that the public know about this wastage. Why did it take so long for the ministry to take the bull by its horns by implementing the “return medication programme” only last year?

It is most worrying that one reason behind the campaign was to help reduce the possibility of the prescription drugs being misused by others.

Isn't there some sort of stock check system whereby the relevant staff can ensure there is no wastage or misuse? Surely there exists some sort of recording system for the medical supplies and that orders must only be made and approved when existing supplies are about to be exhausted. Does this report reveal more than meets the eye?

One wonders about the size of the cumulative figure for the whole country in ONE year and for the last TEN years. And also, to compare the figures for this wastage per year and assess its proportion in relation in the total expenditure. It is important that the Minister of Health explain how he is going to handle this situation to ensure history is not repeated! More importantly, that the rakyat's money is used prudently FOR THE RAKYAT and NOT for illegals!!!

Who will take responsibility for the state of affairs? What measure will be implemented to avoid such wastage? And, who is the one wasting resources?

What on earth is happening to Health Care in Malaysia? For sure, a major restructuring is needed especially in:

1. Privatization - Are decisions made by Economic Planning Unit rather than the Ministry of Health?
2. Health Tourism - How is this being handled?
3. Proliferation of private insurance and its impact on medical fees
4. How illegals/foreign labour is putting a strain on public health care

Equity, accountability and accessibility of public health care services must ALWAYS prioritize the citizens. As in other sectors, TRANSPARENCY is also needed in decision making!

Currently, the rakyat face problems related to:

1. Burgeoning private insurance costs
2. Spiralling health care care costs
3. Access to services restricted in some cases
4. Expensive medication
5. Wrong medication or wrong diagnosis.
6. Long queues at public hospitals
7. etc etc

To exacerbate matters, it was also reported HERE that the government is introducing a new financing scheme for primary care (1Care for 1Malaysia) by forming a private company/corporation to act as an insurance company and managed-care organisation (MCO). The doctors who wrote this letter expressed their concerns about the company and you can read about it in my post on ICare here.

Obviously, there has to be a big change in the way things are being done. The rakyat must always come first. And to ensure that happens, CHANGE IS IMPERATIVE. Vote wisely for that massive swing to make things better in this country.






6 comments to Cut Waste? Who Is Wasting Resources?

  1. says:

    nick Sis,

    I'm all for reducing wastage and inefficiency in all of the govt dept and ministry. However this report from Datuk Eisah is peanuts compared to the hundreds of millions the GOM waste annually (actually the Auditor Gen's report did reveal that wastage and inefficiency by the Govt runs into billions). By comparison, this wastage of medicine by us the rakyat, is actually negligible.

    A lot more (billions) could be save if only our government is transparent and above boards on all of its endeavors. Unfortunately, they are not and as usual the spot light on wastage and misuse of resources are trained on the rakyat and NOT on the real big time culprit, our own government. It seems that rakyat would commit a huge and terrible sin whenever they waste millions BUT the GOM is simply doing it's best and only UNLUCKY that billions are waste yearly. Rakyat is the devil and GOM is the sinless angel or so the propaganda goes. That's why I no longer read or listen to any government statement or remark or advise or even directive. Most of the time IT IS A WASTE OF TIME!

    Nick.

    GOD bless and have a productive week ahead, Sis.

  1. says:

    Fahmi Come on guys.. 500k of unused medicine over 1.6 billion bought. Its medicine! Less than 1% of wastage! Partly due to people not taking medicine at home. And the ministry is to blame?

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Nick

    Thanks for highlighting important aspects of this topic. May there be more civic-minded and social conscious citizens who think along the same lines and more importantly, vote accordingly to ensure such excesses are put to a stop.

    Take care and have a nice day!

    Selamat berpuasa.

    Salam

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Fahmi

    Thank you for stopping by to share your views.

    A comparison of real figures ($$ wasted) cannot be compared with absolute figures because the wastage of RM483 538 was from only FIVE hospitals out of a total of 135 hospitals.

    According to the report, Eisah said the current figures alone reflect the amount of medicine wasted adding that it would be a substantial amount for all the hospitals.

    That is why I said that I applaud Datuk Eisah's courage in making this disclosure and making an effort to do something about it.

    At the same time, I have also raised other issues related to public health in our country which I hope tugs at your heart.

    Transparency is certainly needed at every stage of decision-making and implementation of policies.

    Whatever the case, wastage IS wastage and all should remember that it is the rakyat's money which is going down the drain if steps are not taken to arrest this problem forever.

    Have a nice day!

    Selamat berpuasa.

    Salam

  1. says:

    flyer168 "Cut Waste? Who Is Wasting Resources?"

    Hello,

    Just to share this...

    sembang kedai kopi: Malaysian Health Minister reflective of Malaysia's ills - http://sembangkopitiam.blogspo...ve-of.html

    Saturday, January 27, 2007

    Malaysian Health Minister reflective of Malaysia's ills

    I refer to Zafar Shah’s letter “The Arrogant Malaysian Health Minister” and cannot agree with him more.

    This guy’s conceit and condescending remarks are not only disgusting but increasingly reflective of this government’s “couldn’t be bothered attitude” towards Malaysians in general.

    He thinks he has rammed down the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 down GPs’ throats and now can sneakily ram down the National Healthcare Financing Scheme down the public’s throats by appointing a foreign consultant and a local CEO while hiding behind the OSA.

    Leadership in Healthcare died with Sardon Jubir (Read MGG Pillai),

    when the MOH became nothing more then a vehicle for money making.

    Just look who are the Deans, Presidents of Private Medical Colleges or don't be surprised who directors are of medical equipment suppliers - ex-MOH officials including ex-DGs.

    So much for transparency, corruption, etc, etc.

    Even Judges in this country are not allowed to join a legal firm until after 5 years after retirement.

    But in the MOH anything goes.

    You be the judge.

    Shalom.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Flyer168

    Thank you very much for being a very patriotic Malaysian - ever willing and ready to enlighten us with your gems of information and many questions raised. Malaysia certainly needs you to be a powerful agent of change!

    Take care and please keep in touch.

    Selamat berpuasa.

    Salam

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