Challenges of Prehospital Emergency Care in Malaysia
SABARIAH FAIZAH JAMALUDDIN1
1EMERGENCY AND TRAUMA DEPARTMENT, SUNGAI BULOH HOSPITAL, Malaysia
Prehospital emergency care is not just having ambulances with responders and equipment ready to attend patients with medical needs. It is in actual a system of care that caters for the needs of a given population and complements the needs of the existing health services in the population.
The basic requirements of providing the system of care are reliable logistics, responders with skills to provide the care, communications capability and operational capacity. The provision of quality service is not only based on the needs but also on the economy that funds the system.
What is the basic fact of health economy in Malaysia? Emergency care in Malaysia is readily accessible to Malaysians at just RM 1.00 per visit. A meal with a budget will cost the average Malaysians RM5.00. The first challenge of Prehospital emergency care in Malaysia is “provision of a quality care at a budget”.
The funding in public healthcare caters for both capital and operational expenditure. The same funding is competitively bid by both the prehospital services and in-hospital services. How does one strike the balance? Basics of government funding, if a service has legislative basis then it is important and has a dedicated funding. Here comes the second challenge in providing prehospital emergency care in Malaysia – “survival of a service without legislative backing of its importance.”
Sharing of resources and bridging the gap strategies becomes the driving force in providing prehospital emergency care. The two strategies have allowed us to provide prehospital emergency care in major cities within Malaysia.