The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises primary care as the best, cheapest and fairest way to improve health outcomes for countries. A strong primary healthcare (PHC) system provides accessible, comprehensive and patient-centred services to the public, delivered by well-trained primary care physicians and their teams. In Malaysia, the private PHC sector comprises approximately 8,000 general practitioner (GP) clinics, delivering RM4.5 billion of care in 2019. To live up to the promise of PHC and in recognition of its size and importance, we look at three main challenges for private PHC in Malaysia and propose three ways to strengthen its delivery. The challenges The first main challenge is that private GPs are not integrated with hospitals (public or private) or public sector primary care. This leads to a lack of care continuity, which means that patients find it difficult to move from hospital to clinic, or from public to private healthcare facilities, and vice versa. Care could also be duplicated, with multiple blood tests being performed every time the patient sees a new doctor. Secondly, private GPs are not upskilling as comprehensively as they can and should. Despite postgraduate general practice training being widely available in Malaysia, the uptake among private… Read full this story
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