The Ministry of Health (MOH) has promised to look into the allegations of “cartel style” control over the licence application and renewal processes for privately-run dialysis centres.

This comes after Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah-Kota Raja) alleged that civil servants from the MOH are “running their offices like a cartel” and this has resulted in it becoming a “gold mine” for them.

“The complaint is not from one person, but several people,” she pointed out, in a question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat on 9 August.

The question was related to the efforts and studies done by the MOH towards providing more effective kidney dialysis services and reducing the treatment costs.

Private companies unable to renew operating licences


According to Siti Mariah, complaints included private companies being unable to renew their licence or having to wait long periods of time to get the operating licence renewed.

“The problem is they (the private companies) are unable to set any appointment with the government staff concerned. The companies are told by the staff that it is very difficult to come over for a visit,” she elaborated.

“As a result, some say several centres are running without getting their licence renewed.”

She also recounted an instance where a doctor had set up a private dialysis centre but had to sell off his business after failing to obtain an operating licence.

“He waited a year, then sold off his business to another doctor. He could no longer pay the rental for the premise,” she said.

MOH: “We will investigate this matter”


The MOH has been urged to delve into the matter as Siti Mariah said the private sector’s support was needed to provide dialysis treatment for kidney patients.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya assured that MOH would investigate if the allegation was true. Photo credit: Bernama
Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya assured that MOH would investigate if the allegation was true. Photo credit: Bernama

Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya assured that MOH would investigate if the allegation was true. The issuance of licences to privately operated dialysis centres was under the supervision of the Private Healthcare Practice Control Branch (CKAPS).

“Claims of cartel-style management, difficulty in getting licences, and operators with expired licences are serious accusations and we will investigate them,” he stated.

“We will probe into the matter,” he assured the Dewan Rakyat.

According to the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 (Act 586), effective May 1, 2006, all private hemodialysis centres must have a Certificate of Approval to establish or maintain the service. The licence must also be obtained before the centre can operate to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare quality is according to the required standards.

Privately-run dialysis centres found to operate without a licence can be fined up to RM300,000 or be imprisoned for six years, or both upon conviction.

Meanwhile, the MOH has been expanding the continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) treatment which allows patients to undergo the treatment three times daily at home.

“This is to cope with the increasing number of patients requiring dialysis treatment, as well as reducing the need for dialysis facility for new patients,” Dr Hilmi said. MIMS

Read more:
NICE guideline update: Statins for all patients with chronic kidney disease
Malaysia's number of chronic kidney disease patients worryingly on the rise
Malaysian university aims to produce cost-effective haemodialysers by 2019

Sources:
http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/08/10/private-dialysis-centres-moh-to-probe-claims-of-bureaucratic-red-tape/
http://malaysiandigest.com/news/691761-private-dialysis-centres-moh-to-investigate-bureaucratic-red-tape.html
http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/08/09/health-ministry-to-investigate-cartel-style-control-of-dialysis-centres/
http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/08/09/issuance-of-dialysis-centre-licence-run-like-cartel-claims-amanah/