JOHOR BARU: The Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA) main block that was temporarily shut down after a fire last October resumed operations on March 1.
State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the block was reopened ahead of the six-month target set by the Health Ministry.
The main block has 18 wards and operating theatres, which totals about 40.9% of the overall wards in HSA.
He said only two wards in the main building were still closed, which are the intensive care unit (ICU) and the cardiothoracic intensive unit (CICU).
The two wards are still closed pending investigations by the special commission that was set up to oversee a probe into the incident while the 16 wards, which have 500 beds, have returned to normal, he said.
He said operations have been smooth since reopening, with enough beds to cater to the patients.
A blaze broke out at the hospital’s ICU unit on Oct 25, causing multiple deaths and injuries, and more than 400 patients had to be evacuated to other hospitals in Johor Baru, Kulai and Kluang after the block was closed for repair works and investigations.
The army also stepped in to operate a mobile hospital on the HSA grounds to provide emergency aid for three months.
Ayub said the operating theatres and wards located in the main building had started operating in stages from Jan 3 and Feb 12 respectively, while the emergency and trauma unit began on March 1.
On the cost of repairs for the block, Ayub said that it came under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry and that the cost was being calculated.
He added that the two remaining wards would be reopened once the special commission completed its findings.
The hospital has another ICU that is able to cater to the needs of the patients so the closure of these two wards do not have much effect on HSA’s overall operations, he added.
Ayub earlier launched a collaborative effort between the Johor Health Department and state Fire and Rescue Department to provide more efficient emergency response services to the public.
He said Johor has nearly 90 ambulances statewide but that these were not enough to cater to the public’s needs, and as such the need for such a collaboration between the two departments.
Through Bomba’s Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS), trained firemen will be placed at the different hospitals in the state to provide assistance during emergencies, he said.