Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Health minister brushes off queries on shabby Lahad Datu hospital

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam today brushed aside questions about poor facilities at the Lahad Datu hospital in Sabah which have hampered treatment for life-threatening cases and surgeries, saying he would only speak on the matter when visiting the state.
"When I go to Kota Kinabalu you can ask me about Sabah hospitals," he said today in response to a report by The Malaysian Insider on December 17 about problems faced at the government district hospital in the eastern district of Sabah.
A major problem at the hospital was its faulty air-conditioning system which prevented surgeries from being conducted. Repairs to the system required operating theatres to be sterilised for days before they could be used.
A source at the Sabah Medical Department had told The Malaysian Insider that the hospital was well-equipped for a period to handle cases during the incursion by armed Suluk militants on Sabah's east coast in February last year.
High-tech medical equipment such as a computerised tomography or CT scan as well as top-notch surgeons, had also been posted there to handle battlefield casualties from the incursion.
However, in just over a year, the hospital has slid back to the state in which it was before the conflict, facing problems like frequent air-conditioning system breakdowns that have rendered two of the three operating theatres (OTs) unusable for the most part of the last three years.
The degree of neglect prevented it from handling simultaneous cases if they were life-threatening and required immediate surgery. The situation had also stopped plans by a charity organisation to provide surgery for 14 children with cleft lips. This was confirmed to The Malaysian Insider by plastic surgeon Dr Margaret Leow of the Universiti Hospital in Kuala Lumpur.
The Tawau and Sandakan hospitals were also reportedly in a similar predicament as the Lahad Datu hospital.
Dr Subramaniam was on a working visit to the Penang Hospital today, where he proposed to the state health director and hospital director that outpatient services be relocated to another venue to ease congestion.
"If you have 1,000 outpatients daily, you get 2,000 to 3,000 people, such as the patients' family members coming to the hospital, that creates congestion and problems like insufficient parking spaces.
"If the outpatient services can be moved outside the hospital to a location that is nearer to patients, it could be more convenient for the people as well," he told a press conference during his visit to the hospital.
Dr Subramanian also proposed that the hospital look into setting up a standalone low-risk maternity centre for high-risk and high dependency cases, as well as a cardiology lab.
The ministry also has plans to integrate all government hospitals in Penang to distribute the workload by sharing manpower and resources, including specialists.
Construction of a new maternity and paediatrics hospital on Jalan Residensi near the Penang Hospital is also expected to begin in 2016.
The existing maternity hospital, which is in a 125-year-old building that will be demolished, had been emptied earlier this month and temporarily moved to different sections within the main hospital, he said.
"The old building was declared unsafe so we have no choice but to move. Maternity cases will be handled at the main hospital for the next four to five years.
"The new hospital, which will be built on the same site, has been approved and is now in planning stage. It will take three to four years to complete. We hope it will be ready by 2020," he said.
He added that the new building would add another 329 beds to the hospital and handle all future paediatric cases when it was ready. – December 22, 2014.

Relocate outpatient services, health minister advises congested Penang Hospital | Malaysia

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 22 — In a bid to clear the long, snaking lines at Penang Hospital, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam suggested today a relocation of its outpatient services.
He ordered the state health director and the general hospital director to look into suitable locations for the move, saying splitting the outpatient services from the main building could cut down the waiting time that have left patients in queue for an entire day at times besides putting a strain on the staff.
“Patients can also get comprehensive healthcare at government clinics so they do not need to go to hospitals for outpatient care,” Dr Subramaniam said.
He pointed out that if the hospital was to receive 1,000 outpatient cases daily, it would mean two to three times the number of people thronging the hospital daily, clogging up the parking lots in its grounds.
Other than the outpatient care services, Dr Subramaniam also told the state health director and Penang Hospital director to set up a stand-alone maternity centre to handle high risk and high dependency cases for better maternal care.
“Hospitals in Putrajaya are doing this now so it can be done here too,” he told a press conference during his working visit to the state public hospital.
He also proposed that a cardiology lab be set up in the hospital to enable it to take in more cardiology cases.
Another measure to cut down congestion at the hospital is to integrate all the government hospitals in the state so that the hospitals could share resources and manpower in providing specialist healthcare services.
“I will appoint a team to come up with this integration plan for the hospitals here and the team will study each hospital’s capacity and strengths for the integration,” he said.
Earlier today, after visiting the maternity ward that was emptied out earlier this month for upgrading works, the minister said construction work on a new maternity and paediatric hospital will start in early 2016.
The current maternity ward, located diagonally across from the Penang Hospital along Jalan Residensi, is a 125-year-old building that has not been renovated and expanded for many years.
Dr Subramaniam said the building will be demolished to make way for construction of a new hospital.
The ward has been closed and temporarily relocated to the main hospital building.
“The old building is unsafe so we have no choice but to relocate the maternity and paediatric wards to the main hospital for the next four to five years pending completion of the new maternity hospital,” he said.
The new maternity hospital is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Health Ministry keens on improving quality of service

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Ministry of Health gives serious attention to the aspect of efficiency and effectiveness of Health Care management and administration for assessment and identification of the achievement level according to the international standard as well as the best practices, ©BRUDIRECT.COM reported.
Speaking at the Ministry’s Excellent Service Appreciation Ceremony yesterday, the Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Haji Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Haji Awg Mohamad Yusof said that apart from focusing on the administrative aspect, the management also includes the aspect of patients’ safety, standard procedure of operation and work environment, the medical and health services assessment programme carried out biennially also aims to appreciate and recognise various service disciplines according to the respective categories which have successfully displayed excellent qualities.
It is also to enhance the spirit of responsibility and commitment in working as a team to continue to make reforms, improvement and upgrade work quality and service efficiency from time to time.
The Minister added that in conducting the assessment, the assessing group could identify the aspects of service that need to be improved and updated, especially those with the potential to affect health care services.
Yang Berhormat Pehin said that the assessment results should be accepted positively and that they constituted a challenge for the Ministry to be responsible in together resolving and improving them in order to uphold its image and integrity.
Therefore, Yang Berhormat Pehin urged his staff to give serious attention towards the procedure of overcoming any problems identified that need prompt action and monitoring.
The implementation should be systematic and evidence-based so that the issues would not persist, but instead would enhance public confidence towards the health care services provided.
Yang Berhormat Pehin also reminded every management and administration of Health Centres and Clinics, wards and specialist clinics as well as Allied Health Services on the importance of strengthening the implementation of a systematic internal audit programme according to fixed methods or guidelines.
Yang Berhormat Pehin further clarified that the internal audit is not only to identify weaknesses or deficiencies but is also as a warning signal for the Ministry to take follow-up actions in addressing the weaknesses within a short time in giving a positive impact towards enhancing effectiveness.
It would even make the Ministry prouder if the service quality and excellence level could be further elevated. This does not mean having to wait for the defects to get worse or continue what more if they are to leave a negative impact on the organisation’s performance and administration.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of certificates and souvenirs to the recipients of the Civil Service Excellence Award, the Civil Service Excellent Employees Award 2014, as well as certificates of appreciation to the Recipients of International Award in the Field of Health and the Ministry’s retirees.
The Medical and Health Services Award 2014 went to the Wards or Health Centres and Clinics based on the results of the Medical and Health Services Assessment Programme.
The programmes are one of the Ministry of Health’s initiatives towards improving the quality of Health Care Service delivery.
Among the objectives of the programme is to recognise the existing service in line with the needs and provisions towards achieving recognition of international standard.