Hospital hurt by low cash


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 19 Jun 2004

BY FARIDAH BEGUM

KUANTAN: The Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital here has not been able to carry out blood tests for diabetes and several types of cancers in the past few months. 

It was learnt that the reagents needed to carry out such tests had not been available due to “lack of budget”. 

Patients are unaware, for instance, that the HBA1C, a test done to check the control of diabetes over a period of three months, is unavailable. 

“The test is a routine one for all diabetic patients and such tests have been conveniently omitted without the knowledge of the patients each time they turn up for their check-ups,” according to a source. 

This has disrupted the management of patient care in the public hospital. 

The source revealed that the hospital had been equipped with the latest and most advanced equipment for blood assessments but without the reagents these machines were “white elephants”. 

Certain tumour markers – to assess the progress of patients being treated for cancers of the ovaries (CA125), breast (CA15.3), nose or nasal pharyngeal (EBV), stomach (CA19.9), colon (CEA) and prostate (PSA) – are also not available. 

Calls made to the hospital authorities drew comments like “we are not at liberty to give press statements as only the hospital director has the authority to do so”. 

However, when the director’s office was contacted, his secretary said he would be away for a seminar in Fraser’s Hill followed by a visit to Pulau Tioman. 

Calls to the hospital deputy director and deputy director of medical services also drew a blank. 

The matter was relayed to state Health, Welfare and Orang Asli Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Ishak Muhamad about a week ago. 

“I have enquired about the matter and was told that the ministry will take care of it,” he said.  

When pressed, he said he would look into it again. 

Checks with several private practitioners revealed that the cost for the HBA1C tests at private clinics cost about RM25 per test while each tumour marker costs RM60 or more.  

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