Kota Melaka MP Demands Action Over Doctor Shortages In Melaka Hospital

Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong, a government backbencher from the DAP, wants a public explanation from MOH about the real situation of doctor shortages in Melaka Hospital that has already begun cutting services. “This is quite a serious issue.”

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 – Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong has called for an explanation and action from the Ministry of Health (MOH) over doctor shortages in government hospitals, particularly Melaka Hospital.

The government backbencher from the DAP highlighted CodeBlue’s report last Monday on the suspension of services in the Melaka general hospital, as well as the Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) condemnation of the nationwide relocation of over 4,000 medical officers that it said would trigger severe staffing shortages in multiple public hospitals from August.

CodeBlue reported that none of Melaka’s public health care facilities – Melaka Hospital, Alor Gajah Hospital, Jasin Hospital, or any of the klinik kesihatan – were listed as available options in the eHousemen system for permanent placements for doctors, allegedly due to a “blunder” in miscommunication.

“This is quite a serious issue, so I hope that the Ministry of Health and the Melaka state health department will come forward and provide an explanation to the people, especially, patients, about the real situation,” Khoo said in a video outside Melaka Hospital posted on his Facebook page last Saturday.

“We are afraid that what was said in the statement – if true – will affect services for the general public; it’s also not fair to hospital staff.”

The Kota Melaka MP pointed out that just last month, a video of a patient on a ventilator being taken down the stairs in Melaka Hospital due to broken lifts went viral.

“That problem was only resolved after it was highlighted on social media,” he said.

“But today, we may face a more serious problem – a shortage of doctors in government hospitals. So I hope that the ministry will look at these issues and take effective action so that issues like these will not repeat.”

Since last June 30, Melaka Hospital’s medical department has limited reviews to Red Zone (critical) cases at the emergency unit and only accepted emergency interdepartmental referrals, due to a shortage of medical officers.

The general hospital has also suspended its iFOBT (immunochemical faecal occult blood test) colorectal cancer screening service and is looking to halve the number of elective surgeries offered.

MMA, in a strongly worded statement last Friday, condemned the massive doctor relocation exercise for permanent placements as “negligence at the highest level” that could put patients’ lives at risk, noting that several public hospitals – such as Melaka Hospital, Selangor’s Serdang Hospital, and Sarawak’s Miri Hospital – would each lose 80 to 100 senior medical officers on average without replacements.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa and MOH’s top leadership have yet to respond to CodeBlue’s report on the Melaka crisis or MMA’s statement.

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