Federal govt urged to solve Sibu Hospital’s problems

Sibu Hospital

KUCHING: The Ministry of Health (MOH) is urged to solve the issues currently faced by Sibu Hospital.

Senator Robert Lau said there were not enough beds for Covid-19 patients.

“Some are being put in the emergency wards for hours while waiting for beds to be freed up.

“Ventilators are fully utilised. Now, Sibu Hospital has 273 Covid-19 patients. Makeshift wards are being set up. The number of ICU beds is only 28,” he said in his debate on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address at the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Oct 5).

Of greater concern, he said, was the shortage of doctors, nurses and staff where they had to work up to 12 hours a day instead of eight hours.

“Sibu Hospital is the main referral hospital for the central region of Sarawak, serving the people from the coastal towns of Daro, Igan, Dalat, Mukah and all the way up to Kapit, including a few thousand longhouses. It covers a population of more than a million.

“Does MOH intend to increase funding to upgrade Sibu Hospital? Apart from increasing the funding, the other solution is simple, that is decentralise the management to the state.

“Sarawak seeks autonomy over the healthcare system in Sarawak with the yearly budget based proportionately on the needs of the people in the state.”

He also said that prior to Malaysia in 1963, Sarawak’s healthcare came under the local councils and it was well run.

“Now power, money and all decision-making are concentrated in Putrajaya. This is inefficient as can be seen with many teething problems.”

On another note, Lau said although health came under federal responsibility, the Sarawak government had stepped forward quickly to assist in the fight against Covid-19 right from the start.

“So far, the total amount spent by the Sarawak government to assist the federal government comes to RM340 million.”