No medical subsidy for foreigners

GEORGE TOWN- The Health Ministry (MOH) is looking into getting foreign workers to pay for their actual cost of medical treatment in government hospitals.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said at present the Government is subsidising the rates for foreign workers.

"We want them to pay the actual cost and not the subsidised rate," he said.

Dr Hilmi said the ministry was also in the process of reviewing medical charges at government and private hospitals.

"Our hospital charges have not been reviewed since 2003," he said after the launching of the "Back to School" programme organised by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) at Balik Pulau yesterday.

Dr Hilmi said the MOH is promoting peritoneal dialysis to tackle the demand for dialysis treatment in the country.

He said peritoneal dialysis is quite common in other countries but is relatively new in Malaysia.

"We are promoting peritoneal dialysis, which can be done at home. However, people are still not very confident with it (peritoneal dialysis) here. We can train them and their family members and they can do it at home themselves. The effect is the same as haemodialysis," he said.

He also said that the MOH is planning to add more clinics with dialysis machines next year.

"Almost all government hospitals have dialysis machines except three. We are also extending haemodialysis treatment to clinics. So far this year, we have three haemodialysis treatment clinics.

"We are adding another four clinics to offer dialysis and next year, we are planning to buy 1,000 more dialysis machines.

"Each clinic will have three to five machines," he said.

When asked about dialysis centres that did not meet MOH requirements, Dr Hilmi said the MOH is very strict on the management of the centres.

The "Back to School" programme saw 200 school children from the Balik Pulau constituency aged seven to 12, receiving two sets of uniform, a pair of shoes and socks, as well as a school bag; worth RM250 each.