KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) is building an Outpatient Specialist Complex as one of three measures to overcome congestion at its Emergency Department which also had to accept non-critical (green zone) patients presently.
Emergency Medicine Department head Dr Mohmmad Salleh Yahya said the new complex located next to the emergency department and scheduled to be completed in October would take over all non-critical patients.
"This will enable the department to focus on the critical (red zone) and semi-critical (yellow zone) cases," he told Bernama.
He said two other measures in UMMC's plan were the establishment of two satellite clinics in Petaling Jaya and a blood test unit in the emergency department itself.
Dr Mohmmad Salleh who has been in charge of the department since 2003 and notched almost 20 years' experience in emergency medical service said the definition of 'emergency' varied among patients.
"Sometimes they come to our department even for a small cut. And some just wanted to play a prank on us. For example, one came with a bluish hand. What they wanted out of it, I just don't know," he said.
To this end, he said society should be educated at an early stage about the main function of the emergency department, which is to provide treatment to patients that are in critical or semi-critical condition such as in accident or chronic illness cases.
The 2018 National Audit Report Series 1 revealed an increase in patient attendance particularly non-emergency cases at the Emergency and Trauma Department in hospitals nationwide.
The situation resulted in an additional burden for the department which also had to face other issues such as shortage of medical equipment, limited space, and inefficient ICT system.
Based on UMMC's Emergency Department statistics from January to June this year, green zone patients recorded the highest number with 23,000 adults and 12,000 children.
Yellow zone or semi-critical patients made up 8,800 adults and 12,000 children and red zone or critical patients comprised 2,600 adults and 100 children.
Dr Mohmmad Salleh said patient arrival at his department usually peaked between 8pm and late into the night.
Meanwhile, he advised patients to inform their next-of-kin about fetching them home as soon as they were discharged, as 'access block' would occur if they failed to leave the ward promptly.
"It will impact on the staff's workload and affect their efficiency in providing treatment to other patients prior to being moved to an empty ward," he said.
UMMC's emergency department has a force of about 330 including specialists, medical officers and nurses. It has eight beds in red zone, 20 beds in yellow zone and 26 beds in the observation ward. - Bernama