Private Hospitals Open To Referrals From Troubled Serdang Heart Centre

APHM says Klang Valley private hospitals have the capacity to receive cardiac surgery referrals from Serdang Heart Centre, especially patients needing immediate medical attention. Cost is determined through a public-private partnership agreement with MOH.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Private hospitals in the Klang Valley have offered to receive cardiac surgery referrals from the beleaguered Sultan Idris Shah Hospital (HSIS) Heart Centre in Serdang, Selangor.

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) said six to eight private hospitals in the Klang Valley are equipped with state-of-the-art operating rooms for cardiac surgery and are staffed with senior cardiothoracic surgeons.

“Patients in need of immediate medical attention may be referred to a private hospital’s cardiac surgery unit until the HSIS hospital’s operating rooms are operational, provided that no further resources are available at the public hospitals,” APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said in a statement today.

“The cost of these services is determined through a public-private partnership agreement between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and select private hospitals, which is wholly financed by the government. However, it is possible to extend its implementation to the remaining private centres during this crucial phase.”

Dr Kuljit also urged the government to expedite the recruitment process of foreign nurses to enable private hospitals to help public hospitals with an extensive backlog of cases.

CodeBlue understands that not a single foreign nurse has been recruited in a private hospital due to extensive red tape, more than seven months since the government gave approval last October 1. The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) exemption on the post basic qualification requirement for the hiring of foreign-trained nurses in the private sector is ending soon on September 30.

Bernama reported Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad as saying in Langkawi, Kedah, yesterday that repairs at the Serdang Heart Centre’s surgery complex next month.

“We want to ensure that they meet the deadline. The new building with four non-functioning operating theatres is severely affecting the delivery services of the Heart Centre,” Dzulkefly was quoted as saying, without specifying the deadline.

Both The Star and Utusan Malaysia recently published frontpage reports on how all four operating theatres at the Serdang Heart Centre have not been operational, due to maintenance issues like faulty air-conditioning, ever since the new facility was opened more than a year and a half ago in December 2022.

At the old building of the MOH hospital with four operating theatres, one has been closed for the past two to three years due to light and table issues, The Star reported. According to Utusan Malaysia, all four OTs at the old building are currently non-operational due to high temperatures. Some 1,000 heart surgeries have reportedly been disrupted.

Selangor state health director Dr Ummi Kalthom Shamsudin said in a statement last Saturday that cardiothoracic surgery services at the Serdang Heart Centre were initially scheduled to open this year.

“However, there were a few technical issues, including electrical supply and high humidity levels at the HSIS Heart Centre operating theatre complex, that are currently being addressed by the main contractor under supervision of the Works Department before the HSIS Heart Centre operating theatre complex can open.”

She said cardiothoracic surgery services were still running at the HSIS main building, besides referrals to the National Heart Institute (IJN), adding that the MOH was also finalising an outsourcing exercise for cardiothoracic surgeries to private hospitals.

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