Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam has reassured Malaysians that the price hikes in public hospital wards will not affect the poor.
This is because third class ward charges will remain at RM3 per night, Subramaniam said.
First and second class ward charges at public hospitals went up 50 percent and 20 percent respectively, starting Jan 1.
He said the cabinet decided to raise the charges because they have not been reviewed for a long time.
“I will like to reassure all Malaysians that the government will not abrogate its responsibility to the poor and those from the low income group.
“They will continue to receive the high level of care that they have been receiving as before,” Subramaniam said in a statement issued by the ministry today.
First class ward charges went up from RM30 to RM45 a day this year, while second class ward charges went up from RM20 to RM25.
Charges, however, differ according to types of rooms and facilities, the ministry said.
It said this is far cheaper than charges in private hospitals, where one night in a first class ward could cost RM150 to RM400 while second class ward charges cost RM70 to RM150 a night.
The ministry estimates the price hike would affect some 32,000 patients, or a mere 1.6 percent of patients warded at public hospitals.
Outpatient specialist charges remain at RM5 per consultation, which also includes medication. Patients at Klinik Kesihatan still pay RM1 per visit.