Billed as a “Health Carnival”, it is targeted at reducing the backlog of cases at public hospitals.
Elective surgeries are for non-emergency surgical procedures such as for cancer, cataract, vasectomy and hip and knee replacements.
The carnival, which will be held in every state, will kick off in Sarawak next month.
Sarawak and Sabah have the highest number of pending surgeries.
“We are currently calculating the number of cases as well as the manpower required for the exercise,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said that surgeons and anaesthetists would be brought in from all other states to conduct the surgeries.
This was the first time that the Government was embarking on such a programme, he told a press conference after opening the national Level World Anaesthesia Day yesterday.
Liow said he would personally visit the hospitals in Sarawak to monitor the implementation of the programme.
He also explained that a shortage of anaesthetists in the country had contributed to the backlog of elective cases.
“After we clear the backlog, we will only have to maintain the average waiting time of 12 weeks for all elective surgeries,” he said.
To date, he said, 32 hospitals in the country had been allowed to conduct elective surgeries on Saturdays to reduce their backlog of cases.
“Extended operating hours during the weekdays are also being approved for hospitals with heavy workload,” he said.
Liow said the intake of anaesthesiology trainees for the Masters programme in local universities had also been increased.
Universiti Putra Malaysia will be starting its own Masters programme in anaesthesiology in 2013, adding to the courses which are currently only available at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Malaya and Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Liow said there was an estimated 620 anaesthetists in public and private hospitals in Malaysia, a ratio of one anaesthetist to 45,000 people.
“This shows that we are still far from the developed country norm of 1:10,000,” said Liow, adding that the Government aimed to double the number of anaesthetists in the country within the next 10 years.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Hassan Abdul Rahman said the ministry did not have data on the number of patients currently on the waiting list for elective surgeries as the lists were updated by the individual hospitals.
Patients on the waiting list of each hospital will be informed when the carnival is held at their state.