HONESTLY, I don’t understand the public hospitals or, for that matter, the public health services.
I am a 65-year-old man who suffers from the usual ailments of growing on in years and all I had wanted was a new appointment book to replace one I had misplaced, aside from my medication.
I would like to relate my encounter with the Serdang Hospital on Friday. Admittedly, I had not gone to the hospital for some time to either get my medication or for a check-up.
On that day, however, I decided to start all over and went to the hospital after Friday prayers.
I had been warded there before, had check-ups there and had been prescribed medication there. I thought it would not be so difficult to renew a hospital record book, like, for instance, renewing a savings account book, since my records are all there.
First stop, the public counter at the specialist block. A clerk there said she could not give a book but she could give a sticker, which stated my personal details. She told me I could produce this at the pharmacy and get my medicine.
At the pharmacy, a staff there was also helpful. She gave me a new appointment book but said she could not dispense any medicine unless official approval is given. That would be the cardiology department, I thought, in Room 7 on level three.
A friendly nurse listened to my grouses and then looked through her computer to see my status.
My problem, she said, was that I had not been at the hospital for two years and must seek advice at the medical outpatients department. That was a short walking distance to Room 5.
At the MOPD, the counter nurse told me to go to Room 76, where all appointments are to be made. Gasp! I could have been told this at my first stop.
Then a shocker! The nurse on duty said the hospital could not just accept any appointment request from patients without a referral letter from a clinic.
What? There I was at a major hospital to state my case and the hospital required a referral from a smaller clinic to make a recommendation?
Sorry, that is the procedure, I was told and, looking at the time, it was nearing 3.30pm. I then rushed to the Puchong Batu 14 public health clinic to get that referral letter.
I had to take a number to register my turn; then another number to see the attending doctor. It was a tedious wait on both matters.
When I got to see the doctor, she asked why I was there. I said first I needed some medicine and then a referral note. I produced some prescription that I had from a private clinic and also asked for medication for a pain in my toe that I suspected to be gout.
Then she scribbled something on a paper and told me she was referring me back to the Serdang Hospital for a follow-up.
I waited till Monday to go to the hospital again. This time I went straight to the MOPD and, without much fuss, the nurse took the letter, gave me a green-coloured slip and told me they’d call me in two weeks. Just like that. A few minutes and everything could have been settled when I first went to the hospital three days earlier.
I tell you, it is all just hype about giving senior citizens better care and attention at the public hospital.