PUTRAJAYA: The government does not intend to close down any private dialysis centre for as long as it meets the minimum conditions set, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said the government also allowed the opening of new dialysis centres if they could meet the conditions set by the ministry, which included having adequate facilities and equipment, as well as qualified manpower to provide the best services to the patients.
"I hope my statement will clear the confusion that has arisen following reports which made it appear that the government would close down all private dialysis centres and would not allow the opening of new ones. This is not true.
"It all depends on the centres being able to meet the conditions set by the government. This is for the good of the kidney disease patients," he said at a news conference, here, Wednesday.
Dr Subramaniam said this year, only three dialysis centres were closed down, comprising one each in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang, for failing to meet the conditions set.
He regretted that out of the 563 privately-run dialysis centres in the country, only 331 (58.8 per cent) had a valid operating licence with 117 centres in the process of renewing their licence.
He said 115 dialysis centres were still operating despite not having a licence and they would most likely be ordered to close down after they were given enough time to meet the criteria set by the government.
"Our officers will visit these dialysis centres to assess their state and position.
"If they don't want to apply for a licence and fail to meet the conditions set, we have no choice but to order their closure."
He said the licence applications of 77 dialysis centres could not be approved due to certain shortcomings of these centres.
Dr Subramaniam said from next year, the government would be encouraging peritoneal dialysis, which was popular in countries like the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
He said the government and private dialysis centres in the country were enough to treat the 26,404 patients requiring the treatment.