Overwhelmed by Covid-19 case hike, MOH sets up centre for patients whose phone call for assessment went unanswered

11-Jun-2021 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Overwhelmed by Covid-19 case hike, MOH sets up centre for patients whose phone call for assessment went unanswered

The Ministry of Health will be setting up a call centre to help Covid-19 assessment centres (CAC) cope with the drastic increase in workload as cases continue to grow, following situations where phone calls by patients to overwhelmed CAC went unanswered.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah noted that the drastic increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia since April has caused the workload of CAC personnel to increase at more than 100 per cent.

“There was an increase by 150 per cent in the total number of patients coming to the CAC, namely from 4,000 a day to 10,000 a day on June 5, 2021,” he said in a statement, referring to a chart which showed May 1 as having 4,093 Covid-19 patients visiting CACs and its eventual growth to 13,782 on May 31.

“Similarly for the number of active cases under the CAC’s monitoring that increased by 108 per cent from 5,300 a day to 11,000 a day,” he said, noting that there was also an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients that required referral to the hospital for step-up care from nine such cases on May 23 to 35 cases on June 5.

Dr Noor Hisham said the workload increase in such a short time had resulted in limitations on phone lines available to receive phone calls from patients, as well as personnel to make and receive phone calls.

“This has resulted in incidents where phone calls to CACs were not answered. This situation has caused anxiety to patients who are undergoing surveillance at home regarding their current health status. Especially when they had reported the emergence of new symptoms or deterioration of symptoms in the MySejahtera system but still with no action taken yet by the CAC,” he said.

To address this situation, Dr Noor Hisham said the health ministry is currently “in the process” of establishing a Call Centre to improve CAC’s surveillance process on Covid-19 patients, by helping CACs in several matters.

Dr Noor Hisham said the call centre will assist CACs in receiving phone calls from patients with symptoms to be channelled to the relevant CAC, receive phone calls related to general questions regarding home surveillance orders or home monitoring, and to channel emergency calls to MERS 999 (Malaysian Emergency Response Services).

“As a start, this will be implemented in Selangor and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya which have high case burdens. Besides that, the health ministry will also increase the number of phone lines at 33 CACs in those three states to reduce congestion in phone lines,” he said.

The number of CAC in Malaysia has continued to grow, from 148 in January, to 154 in February, to 156 in March, 190 in April and 198 in May, data by Dr Noor Hisham showed.

Unlike in January when both Sabah and Sarawak were the only states without CAC, Sabah now has three that were established in February, while Sarawak was recorded as having 24 since April.

Each CAC has a team comprising family medical experts, public health medical experts, medical officers, assistant medical officers, nurses and environmental health assistant officers, he said.

In recapping the function of CAC, Dr Noor Hisham said the health ministry had set up such centres to act as one-stop centres for the assessment of Covid-19 positive individuals before determining whether it is suitable for them to undergo isolation and self-monitoring at home, or if they needed to be admitted to Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres (PRKC) or hospitals.

Dr Noor Hisham said the CAC initiative was implemented to identify Covid-19 patients requiring further treatment and to be referred to PRKC or hospitals, while those who were stable were allowed to self-monitor at home.

He said this indirectly reduced congestion in hospitals amid drastic increases in Covid-19 cases in the country.

Covid-19 patients who are in Category 1 (asymptomatic) and Category 2 (mild symptoms) are to undergo monitoring by the CAC via MySejahtera or a surveillance form, while hospitals would treat Covid-19 patients in Category 3 and above.

Covid-19 patients who are eligible to undergo monitoring at home are adults aged 60 and below in Category 1 and 2, and children in Category 1 who have no co-morbidity and have a suitable guardian, and children in Category 2 who are aged two and above with no co-morbidity and with a suitable guardian.

Also required to qualify for home surveillance orders are a suitable home condition, having access to phones, patient required to be compliant with standard operating procedures such as living in a room separate from other residents and with the best arrangement being a toilet available within the same room, no residents in the high-risk category, and the patient having a suitable guardian living in the same house.

Covid-19 patients to be sent to PKRC are those in Category 1 and Category 2 who are not eligible to undergo self-isolation and monitoring at home, while adults aged 60 and above have to be admitted to the PKRC or hospital.



Category: Malaysia

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