KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Health Department has clarified that an article published by a local news portal which claimed that several hospitals in the state have problems in terms of services, operating theatres, elevator facilities and medicines, were old issues that have been resolved.
Its director Dr Christina Rundi said the issues raised in the article entitled “Malaysia’s Sick Hospital” published on April 9 through the news portal had been resolved at the hospital and state health department levels.
“We hope that such old issues will not be made viral by irresponsible parties who deliberately want to smear efforts of the Ministry of Health and state health department.”
“The Sabah Health Department is always committed to ensuring that health services to the community are not affected and will always monitor the existing services to ensure that upgrading needs are in line with current needs,” she said in a statement.
Responding to the issues raised in the article, Dr Christina said that in 2016, the Duchess of Kent Sandakan Hospital, the oldest hospital in Sabah, was shut down due to mould problems that could harm patients as well as staff.
She said the refurbishment project which involved ducting replacement had taken some time due to problems with the contractor, and it was only when the department was satisfied with compliance to existing standards that the operating theatres were reopened in May 2017.
“Surgical statistics at the hospital between 2015 and 2017 were 11,785 cases, 12,076 cases and 13,234 cases. The statistics show that there was no reduction in the number of surgical cases because when the operating theatres were temporarily shut down, the hospital used other surgical rooms available in the hospital,” she said, adding that the hospital had five operating theatres.
On the operating theatres in Lahad Datu Hospital, Dr Christina said the hospital has four surgical rooms including a maternity room, and the surgical rooms were adequate for the time being.
She said the surgical room lighting incident at the Sabah Women and Children’s Hospital was also noted and the lighting would be replaced this year, while on the incident at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the hospital concessionaires were inspecting all surgical lights to ensure the same incident would not be repeated.
In a related development, she said there was no problem with supply of medicines for health facilities in Sabah, however, the supply problem that occurred in early January to February was due to failure of suppliers to supply medicines to health facilities.
“The department will continue to address issues related to health and health services with full responsibility and professionalism to ensure the safety of patients and health of the people,” Dr Christina said.