Major government hospitals in Malaysia will adopt green technology to lower their electricity bills by next year.
Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said 28 government hospitals would be adopting several energy-saving methods to reduce electricity bills by 10 per cent.
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"We found that these hospitals had electric bills of 115 million ringgit [Bt1.16 billion] per year. This does not include smaller hospitals as there are 135 hospitals nationwide," he told reporters after the "Promise Me 2012" campaign launch by Truly Loving Company in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He said the hospitals would be using energy-saving air-conditioning units and light bulbs.
Liow added that he would be announcing the names of the hospitals that have been selected to go green on a later date.
On another matter, Liow said the ministry supported the proposal to set up community clinics for psychiatric patients. He said the clinics could help care for those who have recovered from psychiatric illnesses and that it was crucial to involve not just family members but also the local community in caring for them.
Liow added that there was such a clinic in Muar, operated by the Hospital Visitors Board, which had enabled psychiatric patients to fully recover and return to society. "This will help reduce the stigma attached to psychiatric patients," he said.
Liow said the government had also implemented such a clinic in Putrajaya, where psychiatric patients could receive medical attention.
"We want to build more of such community clinics which are near hospitals that have psychiatrists next year. If anything serious happens to the patients, they can be referred to the hospitals," he said.
He also urged the public to look out for signs of depression among family members.
"Those suffering from depression usually think they are just stressed. They usually want to be alone and take matters into their own hands. Family members have to detect signs or symptoms and get medical help to avoid the condition from getting worse," he said.
On the issue of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, he said the ministry disagreed with the idea of extending patents for products from 20 to 25 years.
"During the discussion, the United States wanted to extend the patent for another five years but we disagreed. We have yet to come to a conclusion but the negotiations will continue on this matter," he said.
By Wong Pek Mei