KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Queen Elizabeth Hospital doctors can still manage their workload, the Sabah state health department said, disputing overwork claims amid soaring Covid-19 cases in the coronavirus epicentre in Malaysia.
Sabah state health director Dr Christina Rundi also denied allegations that junior trained nurses were placed at the Kota Kinabalu tertiary hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU).
“Throughout our investigation, all medical officers and medical specialists at HQE’s anaesthesia unit are working in a conducive work environment and can still manage the current workload,” Dr Christina said in a statement yesterday.
“The head of department has reminded department staff to take care of each other and to inform the head of department or counsellor assigned to their department if they’re facing work overload.
“For your information, since the early stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, each district in the state of Sabah has set up a mental health psychosocial support (MHPSS) team to lend emotional and mental support to people affected by Covid-19, including health care workers on the field and in the hospital.”
Free Malaysia Today reported nurses in Sabah were overworked and stressed due to manpower shortage in hospitals, besides ICU doctors who allegedly took sleeping pills because of overwork and stress.
The Sabah state health department, which is under the federal Ministry of Health (MOH), also denied a Sabah Today report that claimed a 60-year-old man from Putatan, who had tested positive for Covid-19, was sent home to die because of insufficient beds in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The man died last Thursday.
According to Dr Christina, the state capital of Kota Kinabalu — which state minister Masidi Manun has described as the current Covid-19 epicentre in Sabah — has two Covid-19 hospitals: Queen Elizabeth Hospital with 456 beds and Likas Women and Children’s Hospital with 117 beds.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital has increased ICU beds to 40 from 16. Six low-risk quarantine and treatment centres for Covid-19 patients have also been opened to support bed needs in the two Kota Kinabalu hospitals:
- Likas Sports Complex: 133 beds for adults and 34 beds for children
- Institut Kemahiran Mara: 121 beds
- Politeknik Kota Kinabalu: 22 beds
- INTAN: 210 beds (including 31 beds for children)
- RELA Centre: 60 beds
- Penampang Cultural Centre: 93 beds
As of October 29, Queen Elizabeth Hospital had 76 empty beds, while the low-risk quarantine and treatment centres in the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu listed above had 71 empty beds.
MOH has also mobilised 288 trained nurses to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, including 88 nurses with post-basic intensive care training.
CodeBlue previously reported that Sabah has the highest average daily Covid-19 case incidence rate in the country at 14.85 per 100,000 inhabitants in two weeks from October 13 to 26, almost six times higher than the national average of 2.52 per 100,000 population.