GEORGE TOWN, Dec 22 — In a bid to clear the long, snaking lines at Penang Hospital, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam suggested today a relocation of its outpatient services.
He ordered the state health director and the general hospital director to look into suitable locations for the move, saying splitting the outpatient services from the main building could cut down the waiting time that have left patients in queue for an entire day at times besides putting a strain on the staff.
“Patients can also get comprehensive healthcare at government clinics so they do not need to go to hospitals for outpatient care,” Dr Subramaniam said.
He pointed out that if the hospital was to receive 1,000 outpatient cases daily, it would mean two to three times the number of people thronging the hospital daily, clogging up the parking lots in its grounds.
Other than the outpatient care services, Dr Subramaniam also told the state health director and Penang Hospital director to set up a stand-alone maternity centre to handle high risk and high dependency cases for better maternal care.
“Hospitals in Putrajaya are doing this now so it can be done here too,” he told a press conference during his working visit to the state public hospital.
He also proposed that a cardiology lab be set up in the hospital to enable it to take in more cardiology cases.
Another measure to cut down congestion at the hospital is to integrate all the government hospitals in the state so that the hospitals could share resources and manpower in providing specialist healthcare services.
“I will appoint a team to come up with this integration plan for the hospitals here and the team will study each hospital’s capacity and strengths for the integration,” he said.
Earlier today, after visiting the maternity ward that was emptied out earlier this month for upgrading works, the minister said construction work on a new maternity and paediatric hospital will start in early 2016.
The current maternity ward, located diagonally across from the Penang Hospital along Jalan Residensi, is a 125-year-old building that has not been renovated and expanded for many years.
Dr Subramaniam said the building will be demolished to make way for construction of a new hospital.
The ward has been closed and temporarily relocated to the main hospital building.
“The old building is unsafe so we have no choice but to relocate the maternity and paediatric wards to the main hospital for the next four to five years pending completion of the new maternity hospital,” he said.
The new maternity hospital is scheduled to be completed by 2020.