BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Health Ministry is facing difficulty in setting up more teams to offer domiciliary healthcare services (PPD), a after-hospital home care service, due to a shortage of qualified personnel. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam said medical staff including doctors, nurses and therapists are needed to boost the number of PPD teams which currently stands at 160 nationwide. He said there are plans to address the shortages so the service could be further expanded. "The service was important to ease patient loads at government hospitals as treatment could be provided at the homes of patients suffering from chronic diseases," said Dr Subramaniam. He said the aim was to reduce the number patients staying in hospitals so as to allow new intake of inpatients. “Patients who require long term rehabilitative treatment can be discharged with the hospital providing the PPD service,” he said in a press conference today after visiting a patient undergoing PPD treatment here. There are currently 14 government health clinics offering PPD services in Penang after the service was introduced in 2014. On rumours of Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy of the DAP allegedly to be joining the MIC, Subramaniam said he had heard of such talk. “MIC has yet to receive any official application so far,” the MIC deputy president added and refused to comment any further.