The Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) has taken to social media to alert the public of circulation of false information regarding the Full Paying Patient (FPP) programme in public hospitals, following an online post by an unknown individual who claimed that there will no longer be services in public healthcare facilities for RM1 as of January 2017.

“There is no change in the RM1 charge for outpatient services and RM5 for specialist services at outpatient clinics in MOH facilities,” stressed the Ministry, while urging the public to stop the spread of untrue information.

FPP programme optional for those who can afford

While some Malaysians commented that the individual should have taken the initiative to understand the FPP programme before spreading false information, others have suggested that the individual be fined for his irresponsible doings.

The topic of FPP programmes has been highly discussed following a circular dated on 7 October which notified of the implementation of FPP services in 32 public hospitals.

However, Director General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham had earlier explained that the FPP programme was not “privatisation” of services in public hospitals, assuring that the government-subsidised care will be continued.

“The FPP programme is only for those who can afford and it is a way to retain specialists at public hospitals and at the same time, capitalise the loop-hole in providing free healthcare for foreigners,” said Health Deputy Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, who explained that the FPP programme would not affect the general public, as they would still have the option to pay only RM1 for outpatient medical treatment.

Addressing the shortage of specialists in public sector through FPP

First introduced in 2007, and already implemented in certain facilities such as Putrajaya Hospital, the FPP programme allows patients who opt in to select their own doctors and schedule their timing for surgeries subject to availability of specialties and applicable only during non-peak timings.

The programme caters up to 30% of total patients in hospitals, and though patients are charged a full fee, the price offered is half of that at private health facilities and is subject to the Full Paying Patient Fee Act 2007. Specialists in charge will then receive 60% of the total fees for each medical procedure, and the remaining 40% is given to the hospital.

According to Noor Hisham, the aim of implementing FPP services was to retain specialists in the public sector.

“We hope with this programme, specialists will stay with us instead of resigning and moving to private health institutions,” said Hilmi. MIMS

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