Malaysia: Overcrowding In Hospitals Merits Serious Attention – OpEd


Overcrowding in hospitals has been a never-ending and complex issue in Malaysia due to several inevitable and avoidable factors. Overcrowding occurs when the number of patients seeking medical attention exceeds the capacity of hospitals to provide adequate services, propelling patients to wait for so long to see a doctor. Can you imagine if these patients are elderly and have to wait for hours? Hence, they refuse to see the doctor even if they are sick. 

One of the main reasons for hospital overcrowding is the increasing demand for healthcare services due to the aging population, as well as an increase in chronic diseases. Furthermore, a shortage of healthcare staff and facilities can exacerbate the problem of overcrowding.

What sets alarm bells ringing is that this unresolved issue can have serious repercussions for people’s health. Overcrowding can throw a wrench in the works, resulting in delays in diagnoses and treatments, as well as an increased risk of hospital-acquired infections. Delays in receiving treatment can cause patients severe discomfort or even put their lives at stake. Moreover, overcrowding can lead to staff burnout, heightened medical errors, and dissatisfied patients. Also, it can place a heavy burden on the healthcare system’s resources, leading to escalated costs and diminished productivity.

Therefore, hospital capacity should be increased to meet the high demand for healthcare services. The government should consider building new hospitals, expanding existing ones, and adding hospital beds. Another strategy to improve healthcare effectiveness is to streamline procedures, reduce waiting times, and optimize the use of available resources

In addition, efforts should be made to address the root causes of overcrowding, such as improving the primary healthcare system, increasing the number of healthcare professionals, and investing in preventive care. Furthermore, public education campaigns can be initiated to raise awareness about the importance of seeking medical attention only when necessary and to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Overcrowding in Malaysian hospitals merits serious and swift attention. Addressing overcrowding will not only improve the quality of care for patients but also reduce stress among hospital staff members at work. The onus is on the government to work with healthcare providers to find effective solutions to this problem.

Dr Mohd Shahidan Shaari is a senior lecturer at theFaculty of Business & Communication, Universiti Malaysia Perlis

Dr. Mohd Shahidan Shaari

Dr Mohd Shahidan Shaari is a senior lecturer at the Center of Excellence for Sustainability, Faculty of Business and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP). He earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD in economics from Universiti Utara Malaysia. He teaches economics at UniMAP and has published more than 60 research articles.

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