Penang ready for medical outbreaks but more health workers needed, says health exco chief

GEORGE TOWN: Penang hospitals are not facing any shortages of beds currently but remain on guard for any outbreaks or surges in medical cases, says state health committee chairman Daniel Gooi Zi Sen.

"We're now doing fine in terms of public healthcare facilities. We have sufficient beds if there are no emergencies.

"However, precautionary measures must be taken to prepare for a potential surge of medical cases or outbreaks," he said on Tuesday (Sept 26).

Gooi said among the Health Ministry's initiatives and infrastructure development projects include the upcoming women and child (obstetrician and gynaecology) building slated for completion in 2026 and the staff quarters building, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

"We have new healthcare facilities such as the Bandar Perda Health Clinic, a new emergency department block at the Balik Pulau Hospital, and a few other projects under construction.

"What we need are more medical personnel. This is our long-term plan," he added.

Gooi said that to increase efficiency, they are considering using technology to reduce manual tasks.

"We need to introduce a telehealth system and enhance the existing digital technology infrastructure across all healthcare facilities in Penang.

"Then we can have services like remote doctor consultation, robotic surgery and implement electronic medical records (EMR).

"This is in line with the Health White Paper, which aims to revamp the nation's healthcare system and ultimately improve the health and well-being of the populace," he said.

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