Outcry over emergency department’s six-hour wait


No patience: Many people took to social media to express their displeasure with the notice put up at the hospital’s triage counter.

GEORGE TOWN: A notice warning people to expect a six-hour wait at the Penang Hospital Emergency and Trauma Department (ETD) has not gone down well.

Many people took to social media to express their displeasure with the notice put up at the hospital’s triage counter on Sept 29.

Facebook user Rosma Ismail said she could still see a doctor on time by driving all the way from Kuala Lumpur to the hospital.

Another Facebook user Nik Faiz said the Federal Government should enhance its public service delivery and efficiency by reducing the waiting time.

Sabree Kencana said the issue could have stemmed from a shortage of doctors and medical personnel at the hospital.

Penang Health Department director Dr Asmayani Khalib, said the ETD (Red Zone) of Penang Hospital received an average of 400 patients daily, of which more than 50% were non-critical or emergency cases.

She said the notice was actually prepared for the Green Zone (non-critical cases) as there was a sudden surge in the number of patients on Sunday night.

“However, the notice was not taken down after the peak period, hence the confusion among members of the public.

“We wish to apologise for that matter, ” Dr Asmayani said in a statement.

She said the hospital also provided After Office Hours Clinic from 5pm to 10pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 10pm on weekends and public holidays to reduce congestion at the ETD.

Dr Asmayani said the state health department was committed to providing quality care at the hospital and welcomed feedback to improve its service quality.

Penang health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin asked those with non-critical needs to visit other government clinics in Penang.

“Patients can seek treatment at other public health clinics instead of crowding the ETD, which is meant for critical and emergency cases, ” he said.

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