The recent case involving the death of the son-in-law of the Deputy Prime Minister who had been given anaesthesia by unqualified personnel in a private dental facility raises a big question with regard auditing of private healthcare facilities. This particular case received nation-wide attention because it involved a family member of a VIP. There could easily be many more such unreported cases among the lay public.
The Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act and Regulations, 2006 was formulated and implemented to provide guidelines for healthcare providers regarding the mandatory and standard requirements in areas of its’ organisation and management, policy and procedure, infection control, emergency care services, pharmaceutical services, radiological services and standard facilities . The aim of the regulations is to improve and protect the public by controlling the quality of the healthcare services received.
A recent study entitled “Compliance to Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act and Regulations amongst Primary Care Private Clinics in a State in Malaysia” by Ezat et al published in the year 2015 showed worrying trends with regard to compliance. More than half the clinics in the survey did not meet the criteria of ‘good compliance’. Out of the 515 clinics audited only 45.0% fell under the category of good compliance, while 31.8% were categorised as moderate and 23.1% categorised as poor. The findings of this study highlight that the compliance level among the private healthcare providers is still far from satisfactory.
We would like to call on the authorities to undertake regular scheduled audits and inspection on all private healthcare facilities. The Ministry of Health should in fact disclose publicly details of how frequently audits of private healthcare facilities have been conducted and the outcome. This task should be taken seriously as it involves the health and safety of patients.