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2008 Dec 17 - Chong: Health minister sleeping on the job

Chong: Health minister sleeping on the job

Kota Kinabalu (Dec 18, 2008): Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Information Chief, Chong Pit Fah, said Sapp has been flooded with an avalanche of complaints from long-suffering members of the public ever since the 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, once Kota Kinabaluís finest hospital and the pride of its people was declared unsafe by the Minister of Health on Oct 23 and forced closure by Nov 11.

"Itís obvious from the nature of these complaints, showed frustration from the people of Sabah that the Federal Minister of Health and Sabah Director of Health have been sleeping on the job after their first few press conferences and a recent Public Forum and a 'war of words' in the media between the consulting engineers and the Kota Kinabalu MP over the demolition and rebuilding or repair options and whether the name 'Queen Elizabeth' should be retained." added Chong.

"The fact of the matter is that the people of Kota Kinabalu are in the most unfortunate situation of having no general hospital because the Ministry of Health failed to take pre-emptive measures to save the Queen Elizabeth Hospital when serious problems surfaced shortly after it was first built.

"Just compare the number and quality of hospitals in tiny Singapore with a population slightly more than Sabah. They left Malaysia in 1965 and today after 45 years of independence, it is a shame that Sabah still does not even have a decent General Hospital for the state capital! Where is the justice for the people of Sabah when the Federal Government and Petronas has been heartlessly milking us dry?" said Chong.

Chong further added, "no one is addressing the immediate problem that we are facing i.e. the long-suffering patients of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, now being dispatched to various government and private hospitals in the state. Have any unfortunate cases been airlifted to Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in Malaysia for the required amount of medical and health care? Why not? Why place further stress on the already over-stretched government and private hospitals in the state?"

"The most unfortunate patients are those awaiting, undergoing or recuperating from surgery. The most reliable estimate we have is that 500 QEH emergency patients are waiting for their turn on the surgeon's table at any one time. Will they all make it there before it is too late? These are emergency cases. What about the number requiring other kinds of surgery? This is a nightmare of unimaginable proportions for everybody involved. How many people have actually died directly as a result of the sheer incompetence and gross negligence of the authorities in handling the QEH crisis? We demand answers and figures.

"Why didnít the Government set up a crisis management team to swing into action the moment QEH was declared unsafe? If so, what are the facts and figures on the true situation on the ground?

"Yet the Federal Government mentioned in Parliament that KK might be hit by an earthquake in the future. God forbid that such a thing ever happens.

"We fear that what we have learnt so far may just be the tip of the iceberg. The Minister of Health is yet to comprehend the sheer magnitude of the problem caused by the closure of QEH.

"Is this the kind of efficiency the Federal Government going to demonstrate with the so-called Sabah Development Corridor?

"We demand that full disclosure be made on the continuing saga of the patients of QEH and whether the necessary level of support is there for them from the medical community.

"We are not at this stage demanding the resignation of anyone involved in this sad episode of incompetence and negligence that might only further aggravate the woes of the long-suffering patients of QEH. We urge everyone involved to get cracking on the job!" stressed Chong.


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