Bed shortage at older government hospitals

  • Community
  • Friday, 06 Dec 2013

OLDER government hospitals like Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH), Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (TAR) in Klang and Kajang Hospital are facing a major problem, with their wards filled to the brim and no solution seems to be in sight.

Seri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said over the past 10 years, no new government hospital had been built in Selangor, despite the acute shortage of space at most hospitals in the state.

He said based on statistics, hospitals in Klang, Gombak, Hulu Langat and the Petaling district collectively receive more than 3.5 million patients a year.

He said the state was ready to provide land to build new hospitals, and hoped to work with the Federal Government to achieve this objective.

He also cited the scenario at TAR, which was operating at maximum capacity.

“The hospital has 891 beds, and the its management was forced to add more beds to accommodate the needs of the public.

“Patients are being treated on beds placed along the corridors. This is not right but they seem to have no choice,” said Dr Xavier.

He said the delay in opening the Shah Alam Hospital had also worsened the situation.

The hospital, now expected to open in September next year, will have about 300 beds.

“However, the new hospital will also reach its maximum capacity once it opens because it was built based on an old estimation,” said Dr Xavier.

The crowded hospitals, when viewed from outside, do not reflect the situation inside.

This is because they accommodate all patients compared to newer and modern government hospitals.

The latter, such as those in Selayang, Serdang and Putrajaya, do not face this situation because the “computerised’’ system does not allow room to take in patients if no beds are available.

Checks by StarMetro found that the newer hospitals do not admit patients beyond their bedding capacity.

As a result, many endure long hours of waiting at the Emergency ward before they finally get admitted.

Some, who cannot wait, and can afford it, will opt for private hospitals instead.

This is especially so for those from the middle-income group or those with medical insurance coverage.

A doctor, who wished to be identified only as Raj, said: “The planning is poor. If you know it will take five years to build a hospital, then the paperwork should start 10 years in advance.

“You don’t wait to built a hospital only when the situation is dire,” he said.

Another doctor, who also did not want to be named said: Healthcare is a basic right and public should not be deprived.

“If a patient, in a serious condition and in need of fast treatment, cannot be warded due to lack of space, then he has been denied a basic right,” he said.

A StarMetro report recently highlighted that Government hospitals in the Klang Valley were overcrowded, with too many patients and lack of space.

The report followed complaints from the public on the overcrowding TAR, Kajang Hospital and HKL.

It said some patients were in beds placed along corridors of the wards.

When contacted, a spokesman for TAR Hospital Visitors Board, said the hospital is the worst hit, due to the high number of patients seeking treatment here.

The spokesman said they could not turn away the sick and accommodated all who sought treatment, resulting in the overcrowding, adding that some from Shah Alam and other nearby areas also came to TAR.

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