The government plans to expand resident neurosurgical services to all the state hospitals, with at least two neurosurgeons each, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said at the moment there were eight state hospitals without neurosurgical services, namely Kangar, Alor Setar, Kota Baharu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Klang, Seremban and Melaka.
“We plan to have at least two (neurosurgeons) at each state hospital. These are all important hospitals…surgery hospitals.
“We have to address the urgent need now. So, we focus on the state hospitals first,” he told a press conference after launching the Eighth Asian Congress of Neurological Surgeons and First Asian Neurosurgical Nursing Congress at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), here, today.
Liow said there were now 74 neurosurgeons in the country, with 26 attached to hospitals under the ministry, 19 at the universities and 29 in the private sector.
He said the number was a vast improvement compared to 2004 where Malaysia had only 36 neurosurgeons.
In addition, Liow said there were 26 more students taking up neurosurgical courses, with 11 in the first year, adding that the country would have enough neurosurgeons for all the states in a few years.
In order to provide more advanced and subspecialty neurosurgical services as well, Liow said the government also hoped to strengthen its six regional centres in Johor Baharu, Kuala Lumpur, Sungai Buloh, Penang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu with at least four neurosurgeons each.
He said in the near future the ministry planned to add at least three more neurosurgical centres to be located in Terengganu, Alor Setar and Melaka.
“This will significantly improve the coverage of neurosurgical services and patient care, especially in the management of neurotrauma cases which are still a major problem in this country,” he added.
Asked to comment on the proposed amending of the Barisan Nasional (BN) constitution, Liow who is also MCA deputy president, said it was an important move for BN’s own transformation in keeping with the government’s transformation plan momentum.
“BN is now initiating a political transformation programme following the government under the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak having introduced the Government Transformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme.”
He said amendments to the BN constitution were also to ensure that the slogan of “People First, Performance Now” would achieve its goals.
Last Saturday, the BN Supreme Council agreed to amend the constitution by introducing direct associate and affiliate membership.
The prime minister had said that the historic decision demonstrated BN’s effort to be “a party that is inclusive and open to all who share its concept, principles and policies, and feel that they will be comfortable with BN”.