Is it fair to label private hospitals as prioritising wealth? Does charging higher fees equate to profiteering?
Certainly there is no comparison between private and public services. Each has its own strengths and pitfalls. There are equal horror stories about both public and private services. At the same time, there are many happy and satisfied customers from each of these services as well.
To hit out at private establishments, just because it is cheaper at public ones, is lop-sided and unfair. Cases of mismanagement at public hospitals exist. They are often settled out of court. Most patients, understandably would not want, or have the necessary resources, to be drawn into an expensive court battle.
Patients at private hospitals demand greater time and the forces of litigation are often much stronger. Cases of medical litigation are juicy news, which in turn cast darkness on the hospitals in question. Detailed information is often sketchy which invites speculative accusations of negligence.
Medicines and healthcare are expensive. Tax payers are indirectly supporting public healthcare. As healthcare cost escalates, there will be increasing pressure on the Government to source for funds in maintaining a ‘cheap’ public healthcare service. The weakening of the ringgit has also played a role in increasing prices of medicines and health equipments. Therefore, accusing private practices of charging what is due, is just naive and unjustified.
Private hospitals seem to be prioritising wealth over health
by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
OUTSPOKEN: Health is a very lucrative field in Malaysia. Today there are over two hundred private hospitals in the country. And possibly more will be established in the coming years.
Private clinics have existed a long time ago, and are now very common establishments. But only in the last few decades have private hospitals become more prominent.
Only the rich will be able to use these medical facilities. Compared to charges for treatments acquired from government hospitals, treatment costs at private hospitals are much steeper.
Let me quote a few cases that have been highlighted in the media.
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