The Health Ministry plans to increase fees only for first and second class wards at government hospitals from next year as fee for the third class remained unchanged.
Minister S. Subramanian said the fee hike would not affect third class wards as the federal government did not want to burden the lower income group.
He said the Health Ministry was concerned about welfare of the lower income people, the biggest group seeking treatment at third class wards.
“The charges will only affect patients who choose to be placed in either of the two upper classes while rates for third-class wards remain unchanged.
“We have not raised the charges for over 30 years now and with the upcoming increase, these two classes are still heavily subsidised by the government,” Subramanian told reporters in Putrajaya Monday.
The health minister said prices and costs have gone up in the last 30 years, causing government subsidies to be increased, and the only way to cut down the subsidies was by hiking fees of the upper class wards without burdening the low income group.
The ministry is yet to decide on the new charges.
Subramanian pointed out that currently there are only 32,000 patients in the first and second class wards out of the total two million patients in public hospitals nationwide.