‘Sabah in need of heart hospital’

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is in urgent need of improved medical facilities and specialists, says Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

He said major hospitals in the state are lacking in specialists and there is also a need to build new hospitals to cater to Sabah’s growing population.

Welcoming Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement on the proposed Sabah Cardiology Centre at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital (QEH II) here, Shafie however said there should be a dedicated heart hospital built for the state.

“I appreciate what has been announced but we need a new (heart) hospital,” he told reporters after a walkabout at Dongonggon township in Penampang yesterday.

He said the heart hospital could be located outside Kota Kinabalu district in the west coast due to the growing population there.

Shafie, who is the Semporna MP, said he often raised in Parliament the issue on the lack of cardiologists and other specialists in Sabah.

He said major hospitals in Tawau, Sandakan and Keningau do not have heart specialists and this is a problem during emergencies.

Shafie revealed that there had been cases where heart patients died because they did not receive treatment in time.

“We can’t afford to send the patients to Kuala Lumpur. So we need the facilities here in Sabah,” he said.

The former Sabah chief minister also said there is an overall need to improve medical facilities in the districts.

For example, he said the state’s main general hospital – Queen Elizabeth Hospital I – has 700 beds and even food for the patients have to be sent from QEH II.

“At times there were visitors looking after their warded family members who had to sleep on the floor,” he added.

Warisan’s Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, in thanking Anwar, also called for the setting up of a Sabah Heart Hospital.

Isnaraissah said in a Facebook post that it is good that the federal government is taking action to improve health services in Sabah.

Saying it is necessary to be fair to all Malaysians, she said the Federal Government must correct the imbalance in the provision of services in the states.

During his visit to Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, Anwar said a special block meant for cardiology cases would be set up at the QEH II.

He said three cardiologists would be transferred here and announced an immediate RM80mil allocation to start the project. The prime minister said the healthcare system in Sabah is quite limited and many had to fly to the peninsula for various forms of treatment.

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