Kota Kinabalu April 30, 2012: Poor planning and lack of foresight on the part of the Health Ministry has inevitably caused great inconvenience, confusion and hardship to the masses in terms of providing services.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) KK Division Chief, Christina Liew, said this is an undesirable outcome of having three hospitals scattered within the State Capital without taking the people's interests into consideration in the first place. These are Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) 1, Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) 2 and Sabah Women & Children's Hospital, Likas.
"Non-centralisation of services seems to be the order of the day.
As a result, patients are being shoved around like a football, making them hop from one hospital to another, sometimes on their own.
"Is such treatment in line with the Government's concept of 'People First, Performance Now'?" she said in a statement.
Liew said the following was what her team gathered on the ground:
|Case One:||Patient was seen at Hospital A and needed admission but no bed, so patient was sent to Hospital B for admission. However, the patient had to undergo diagnostic scan at Hospital C as there is no such facility at Hospital A or Hospital B.|
|Case Two:|| |
Recently, QEH 1's Orthopaedic Department moved to QEH 2 but the public were unaware of it. Patients complained to Liew that they were forced to detour when they turned up at QEH 1 for medical review.
Some of them didn't even know where QEH 2 is located.
Their spouses or children had dropped them at QEH 1 before going to work, so patients had to take a taxi to QEH 2 which is costly.
|Case Three:|| |
Outpatient was seen at Hospital A and needed to do diagnostic CT Scan at Hospital B as CT Scan at Hospital A malfunctioned.
But on the day of the scan, the outpatient was required to go back to Hospital A for a procedure first before heading to Hospital B for the scan on her own.
Liew lamented: "I don't think such a chaotic situation happens in hospitals in the rest of Malaysia. No wonder I often hear shouts of Sabah Boleh!
Apa Pun Boleh!"
Given this unfavourable scenario, she said it is not surprising that Sabahans continue to seek treatment in Singapore or other places.
Last year, following complaints from patients' family members, she had queried over the prolonged faulty CT Scan machine at the Sabah Women & Children's Hospital.
"Shortly after, a Deputy Director of the State Health Department came out with a statement in the media to say that the machine had been repaired.
However, a patient's son told me that the machine is still dysfunctional and his mother is required to go to QEH 2 for diagnostic purposes."
Liew opined that Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, might be ignorant of the real situation in the hospitals because he visits Sabah only once in a blue moon.
"Since he is visiting Sabah today (Monday) (in view of the impending 13th General Election), I challenge him to take a peek into all the three hospitals and talk to the patients about their woes as well as the doctors on how they feel about their working environment.
"In the words of many doctors, the hospitals are in a mess.
How do we expect to keep government doctors if we do not provide them with a conducive working environment?" she asked.
Considering the up-and-coming private hospitals in Kota Kinabalu, including the new Sabah Medical Centre (SMC), now under construction, Liew could foresee an exit of specialists from government hospitals.
"The masses will suffer more because not everybody can afford the whopping fees in private hospitals."
She also questioned why Putrajaya Hospital will have four radiotherapy treatment machines compared with only one that will be installed at the Sabah Cancer Hospital in Likas upon completion, according to a report.
"Stop treating Sabahans like step-children. I hope the Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Rosnah, will succeed in her 'fight' to get more treatment machines for Sabah," she said.