Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finding Ways To Cut Hospital Construction Costs

February 23, 2010 17:06 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- The government wants to reduce the cost of building hospitals in the country by one-third without compromising basic quality and the facilities provided, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

For example, he said the Prime Minister had directed that the benchmark should be RM500,000 per bed instead of the RM1.5 million in some hospitals currently.

He said the cost per bed was calculated by the costs incurred when a hospital was built and divided by the number of beds available.

"If the cost per bed is very high, then you have to either charge very high in order to get the returns or you have to suffer losses...and in the case of government hospitals, the taxpayers' money again would be involved," he told reporters after launching the International Continuing Professional Development Conference themed "Towards World-Class Nursing", here Tuesday.

However, he refused to reveal the exact costs incurred by the government when building hospitals, saying that the question should be posed to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Liow Tiong Lai.

Koh said value for money, reducing costs and cuts in unnecessary luxurious features should be given priority by healthcare service providers in line with the government's 1Malaysia concept.

"The second emphasis is on human development...meaning that it is better (for the healthcare service providers) to spend money on brains than on bricks," he said.

He said the present government was placing strong emphasis on value for money and quality of human resources in the healthcare service.

The minister also said that Malaysia still needed to produce more nurses and paramedics at various levels, especially to cater for the 1Malaysia clinics.

"By comparison, we have around 150,000 healthcare personnel in government service where the ratio is five to 1,000 population compared with 1.5 million in UK with the ratio of 24 to 1,000," he said.

Koh said, the interesting part was that despite the shortage of healthcare personnel, Malaysia still emerged as one of the principal suppliers of nurses to other countries.

Therefore, he welcomed the initiative by International College of Health Science (ICHS) in Malaysia to further expand its programme by building a new campus in the country and introducing a degree in nursing.

The three-day inaugural conference was held to provide a platform for aspiring nurses and healthcare professionals to develop and enhance their skills and professionalism in an effort to elevate the standard of the nursing profession in Malaysia.

The conference was attended by more than 200 professionals from private and government hospitals as well as healthcare institutions.


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