Monday, November 25, 2013

Suspended hospital braces for major layoff

DIRE: More than 100 staff to lose jobs if Health Ministry doesn't respond to appeal

SEREMBAN: THE Negri Sembilan Chinese Maternity Hospital and  Medical Centre (NSCMH) is expected to downsize its clinical and non-clinical staff from 145 to about 20,  should the Health Ministry  not respond to their appeal in the coming weeks.
NSCMH general manager G.T. Selvam told the New Sunday Times that the process of transferring the remaining seven in-house patients was underway, following the ministry's orders to suspend the hospital's in-patient services.
"The seven patients are elderly people, who are just undergoing physiotherapy treatment.
"They are under the medical officer's care and are awaiting their children, who are abroad, to take them home," he said yesterday.
Selvam said following the suspension of in-patient services, the hospital was experiencing a drop in out-patient services, too.
"Not many patients are coming in. If there is no reply from the ministry, we have no choice, but to lay off 110 to 120 of our staff."
However, the layoff is up to the board members, who will decide in the coming days, as they are awaiting a reply from the ministry, following an appeal they made on Friday.
The other area of concern, Selvam said, was the procurement of three specialist doctors in three disciplines.
"We are worried, as the suspension will affect the procurement of these doctors. Who wants to work in a hospital with suspended in-patient services?"
On Friday, the director-general of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, suspended the hospital's in-patient services for failing to meet the ministry's requirements under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, despite the hospital responding with an appeal dated Oct 24.
He said NSCMH had committed 10 violations and had been suspended from admitting new patients after site observations were conducted.
Existing patients are to be transferred to other hospitals.
Deputy director-general (medical) Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran yesterday said the hospital's reply on Oct 24 was unsatisfactory.
"The ministry has no option, but to take action. Patients' safety and comfort come first."
MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim also expressed concern over the issue.
"I will be meeting ministry officials to follow up and get details on what really transpired," he said after the party's state annual general meeting here yesterday.
He said NSCMH should adhere to the rules and regulations outlined by the ministry, but added that MCA would help settle the issue.

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