Tuesday, January 10, 2017

SGH Accident and Emergency Department needs further improvement — Baru

KUCHING: Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian wants the condition of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) here be improved further.

The state PKR chairman said he was at the unit last week when one of his relatives was admitted for treatment.

“The experience left me feeling grateful and sad at the same time. (I’m) grateful and full of admiration for the doctors, nurses and staff members who work incredibly hard – and sad that they are required to work in such a challenging environment,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
He observed that there were people standing around there, waiting anxiously for updates on their relatives who had been taken into the restricted waiting area.

“In the case of my relative, it was a five-hour wait until she got into the ward. I was given to understand that sometimes, the wait could be longer than that. It appears that the long waiting time and overcrowded waiting area are the norms at the A&E. The place reminds me of a fish market – for wanting of a better term.”

According to Baru, the A&E Department is an area that needs special attention from the government, as it is a place of life or death, saying ‘more often than not, everyone wants life to be the outcome’.

“However, the whole atmosphere was one of stress and tension. The crowds of anxious relatives were in the way of the medical personnel who had to make their way through. The staff members are doing their best but they cannot be expected to perform at the optimum level if the environment is not conducive to delivering efficient and effective A&E care.”

Baru said people could expect that with the worsening economy and depreciated purchasing power of the ringgit, more and more people who previously went to private healthcare facilities would turn to public hospitals.

He said if based on the statement by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya in October last year, who said the rate of visits to public healthcare services had increased and the record was higher than that registered the year before, he wondered how much more the A&E could cope with before reaching the breaking point.

“In the last State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, we were informed that as at Oct 31, 2016, the progress of Petra Jaya Hospital (project) was 42.51 per cent towards completion, when it should have been 78.18 per cent.

“On Oct 13, 2016, State Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim was reported to have said that the new completion date would be June 2017. Two days later, the Public Works Department headquarters in Kuala Lumpur was reported to have revealed that the contractor had committed to completing the project by the end of 2017 – it’s expected that the contractor would apply for another extension.

“However, it appears that works on the hospital have come to a complete standstill – apparently due to issues with payment. The minister concerned should update the people about what is happening there.”

Meanwhile, Baru said he had been informed that plans for the new parking block at SGH included a better and more spacious A&E unit on one of the floors.

“The project was supposed to start as far back as 2013 or even earlier, but it has been plagued by countless delays and cost escalations. Why has this situation been allowed to carry on for so long?”

“The Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) and his federal government have let us down in the budget, despite all the promises made during the elections. I hope the state government would step in to expedite matters.”

In the meantime, Baru said the A&E at the SGH was in need of ‘some emergency help’ itself and as such, he called upon the government to provide some relief to them pending the delivery of the Petra Jaya Hospital and the extension of the SGH.

~ Borneo Post

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