Dr Sim: Health White Paper to give autonomy to public hospitals

Dr Sim (right) speaks while Khairy looks on at the townhall session on the HWP development held at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) Auditorium here last night (Sept 5, 2022).

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Sept 6: The Health White Paper (HWP), if approved in Parliament, may see the Ministry of Health (MOH) giving autonomy to public hospitals to run independently while it focuses on policy-making, regulation and research.

Sarawak Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the Sarawak government is always very appreciative on working together with MOH on such matters, especially with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin involved.

“(Under the HWP), federal-funded hospital services will be decentralised and the Ministry will probably focus on policy, regulation and research.

“This is very much in line with the Sarawak government’s aspirations of having health autonomy and we will see how (Sarawak government and MOH) can work together so that we can figure out how to run the healthcare (system) in Sarawak’s own ways,” he said during a townhall session on the HWP development held at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) Auditorium here last night (Sept 5).

Dr Sim, who is also Sarawak Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government further cited the Sarawak Heart Centre (SHC) as an example of dissolution of power as well as cooperation between Sarawak and MOH.

“If you noticed, the Sarawak Heart Centre is renting (the premises). The centre is built by the Sarawak government and the MOH is operating it with the rental fee is only RM1 a month for the whole centre.

“At the end, it is the people of Sarawak who benefit from it. That is what the Sarawak government would like to do in terms of Sarawak’s healthcare autonomy,” he elaborated.

Dr Sim further lauded Khairy and MOH for choosing Sarawak as the first State to contribute input on the HWP through a town hall session.

The HWP first came into the spotlight when Khairy in his 2022 New Year message in Putrajaya on Jan 13, informed that he has proposed a white paper on the reformation of the country’s health system to the ministry’s Planning Division for it to be tabled in the upcoming Parliament session.

The 13-member HWP advisory council was formally set up on Aug 10, co-chaired by former health minister Tan Sri Dr S Subramaniam and Axiata Group chairman Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.

Amongst those present were Deputy Minister of Health II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang; MOH director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah; MOH secretary-general Harjeet Singh Hardev Singh; Sarawak Health Department director Dr Ooi Choo Huck and SGH director Dr Ngian Hie Ung. — DayakDaily