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Singapore hospital invests more in tech upgrade

Hospital in same fix

Both hospital staff and visitors have to compete for precious parking space near Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan. Pic by Halim Mat Ali

KUANTAN: Lack of parking space is causing massive traffic congestion at Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, here.

Hospital staff and visitors park along yellow lines and on both sides of the road near the hospital.

Traffic slows to a crawl as early as 7am with hospital staff and patients scrambling for parking space.

The increasing number of patients further compounds the problem. Some register at the hospital and then return to their vehicles to wait to be called while others leave their family members waiting in the car for hours while they seek treatment.

K. Varadarajo, 54, drove in circles looking for parking space for almost an hour yesterday before deciding to give up and wait in the car.

“I am afraid to park illegally as someone might knock into my car. The hospital staff seem used to the situation and I saw many double parking.

“Some drivers who had parked illegally left their contact numbers on their windscreens,” said Varadarajo, who had come to visit his son.

Azman Abas, 50, from Kuala Lumpur, had previously been slapped with summonses for parking at “no parking zones”. He said it was unfair to penalise him when it was the hospital that had failed to provide adequate parking space for its staff and visitors.

“Even the hospital employees have to compete with the visitors for parking space.

“The solution is to build a multi-storey car park to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles.

“Maybe the hospital should introduce a parking fee as that would help to limit the number of incoming vehicles.

“I hope the Health Ministry will sit down with the hospital board to find a solution to the longstanding problem,” he said.

Hospital director Datuk Dr Marlia Mohammed Salleh declined to comment as he said it would be more appropriate for the State Health department to respond to the matter. However, a department spokesman said the matter would have to be forwarded to the ministry before the department could issue a statement. By Fadzrul Hanif

via Hospital in same fix – Central – New Straits Times.

Radicare to be probed

Hospitals waste waiting to be processed at the Redicare plant.


PETALING JAYA: Medical support services company Radicare will be probed to ensure it is fulfilling its responsibility, said Health Min­is­­ter Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

This came about following Radicare’s rubbish collection problem when it changed cleaning contractors in several hospitals, leading to overflowing rubbish and dirty toilets, as well as the shutting down of 12 out of 22 operating theatres (OTs) at Sungai Buloh Hospital after a fire.

“We cannot accuse them without looking at the matter. Certainly, there are contractual responsibilities they have and we will see if there are any lapses. If yes, there are punishments outlined in the contract allowing us to take action.

“What matters is how quickly the issue was addressed. For example, they immediately rectified the issue on rubbish collection,” he said yesterday.

Subramaniam said the OTs in Sungai Buloh Hospital would be up and running by Jan 21.

He stressed that the OT problem was not due to Radicare but caused by an electrical fire.

At the Sungai Buloh Hospital, rewiring work is being done to restore the OTs that were shut down following a fire. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said all the wires linked to the 12 OTs were changed.

“We didn’t want to take any chances as we don’t know the extent of the damage,” he said, showing The Star the ongoing restoration work at the UPS (uninterrupted power supply or a battery backup) plant room following a fire at 1am on Jan 4.

Dr Noor Hisham said it was not known yet what triggered the electrical fire as the Fire and Rescue Department was still investigating it.

He said Radicare engineers had carried out regular maintenance work and visited the UPS plant room a week before and there was no issue then.

Radicare is the company which provides support services like engineering and maintenance for the hospital.

via Radicare to be probed – Nation | The Star Online.

Pest breeding grounds too close for comfort

KOTA BARU: For years the dirty environment around the food court, restaurants and hypermarket in a commercial area in Kubang Kerian about 30m away from Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital has been a breeding ground for rats.

The rat population kept increasing over the years and “invaded” the hospital via a series of underground burrows and sewage pipes leading from the university complex to the large monsoon drain by the road there.

Kota Baru Municipal Council president Fauzi Mat said that several steps would be taken to solve the problem, including exterminating the rats at source.

Fauzi also said that the council would educate the food outlets on the proper way to dispose of their kitchen waste.

“The collection of rubbish in the area may also be intensified to remove more garbage and food waste,” he added.

The hospital has been invaded by both sewer rats and common house mice, and the 2,800-odd university campus employees, medical students and nurses face the threat of contracting leptospirosis, caused by the urine and droppings of rodents.

However, there has not been any report of such cases in the hospital.

According to the staff, the rodents have infested the main cafeteria and pantries and also made nests in the thousands of square feet of suspended ceiling at the hospital.

There are also reports that the rats have started damaging the electrical wiring system on the ground floor of the hospital complex.

The hospital, which is accredited with the University Accelerated Programme for Excellence certification, was opened in 1983 on 72.84ha of land in the Kubang Kerian township.

It comprises a health campus, a teaching hospital, a cardiothoracic department and a dentistry school.

via Pest breeding grounds too close for comfort – Nation | The Star Online.

New hospital hungry for medical talent

Professor Gabriel Leung

Vacancies for more than 150 doctors and 800 nurses will open up in Aberdeen when a private hospital run by the University of Hong Kong is completed in 2017.

In addition, the university’s Li Ka-Shing Faculty of Medicine is seeking recruits to join two other key projects – an HKU-Shenzhen hospital that has begun operations across the border, and the expansion of the public Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam.

Manpower will be of the utmost concern in the projects, said the new dean of medicine, Professor Gabriel Leung.

“Human capital and talent is one of the areas we have to look at, along with the hardware investment,” Leung said at his first meeting with the media after succeeding Professor Lee Sum-ping on August 1.

Leung has a new deputy, associate dean of human capital Professor David Wong Sai-hung, whose position was created in this new five-year term to tackle a brain drain faced by the HKU medical faculty.

Wong cited anaesthesiology and the accident and emergency units as among specialist fields that were suffering more severe staff shortages.

The recruitment drive – for teaching professors, medical researchers and frontline doctors, among other professionals – had begun both locally and overseas, he said.

Recruiters were on the hunt for specialists in the United States and Britain, though Wong said one of the difficulties of taking the talent search abroad was the limited pool of people who could speak Cantonese.

A new plan would allow former professors who had left for private hospitals to work part time at HKU so that they could continue their research or hospital teaching, he said.

The city’s 11 public hospitals are already short of at least 200 doctors. The understaffing will not begin to ease until 2015, when the number of graduate doctors will increase from the existing 250 a year to about 400.

Wong expected the 500-bed Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital in Wong Chuk Hang, near Aberdeen, to be a major employer of medical practitioners in the next few years.

HKU will run the clinical services at Gleneagles, with the management run by Singapore’s Parkway Pantai Limited and local firm NWS Holdings.

Construction will start next year and Gleneagles is expected to be running in 2017. The hospital’s layout was being designed, said Professor Law Wai-lun, the associate dean responsible for clinical affairs. It would be a modern design that grouped outpatient services together. Chinese medical outpatient services would also be provided.

Law said the intensive care unit and surgical wards would be located on the same floor. Operating theatres would feature advanced equipment for performing complicated procedures.

More than half of all services would be provided at standard package prices, Leung said.

Some private hospitals charge mostly on a per-item basis.

“Gleneagles will not be a hospital serving only the rich,” Leung said. “It will offer a midway choice for the middle class, who do not want to use public services but find current private health care too expensive.”

via New hospital hungry for medical talent | South China Morning Post.

Hospital probes E German ‘human guinea pig’ drug tests

Nurse with syringe - file pic
Many medical files from communist times have not been thoroughly researched

A top Berlin hospital plans to investigate the conduct of drug trials in the former East Germany amid allegations that some patients were used as human guinea pigs.

Communist officials allowed Western firms to test new drugs on about 50,000 people, often without their knowledge, the news magazine Der Spiegel says.

Now the Charite hospital says it will stop shredding old patient records and investigate what happened.

The tests took place in the 1980s.

Der Spiegel says it got the information from former East German health ministry records, the old Stasi secret police files, the former state’s pharmaceutical authority and private collections.

Drug companies from West Germany, Switzerland and the US allegedly offered up to 800,000 Deutschmarks (about 400,000 euros; $520,000) per clinical study – foreign exchange that was much needed in the underfunded East German health service.

Ethical questions

In a statement, the Charite hospital said that “as a first step, Charite has stopped the usual shredding of decades-old files after expiry of the storage period. This is in order to reconstruct the course of action in particular cases as fully as possible.”

Prof Volker Hess of Charite’s medical history institute said the conduct of the East German clinical trials should be re-examined, to find out the degree of patient consent and how undesirable side-effects were handled. The study should also compare East Germany’s medical procedures with those that were standard in the West at the time, he said.

Germany’s Union of Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (VFA) welcomed the idea of researching the old East German clinical trials. The VFA’s members account for about two-thirds of the German pharmaceutical market.

“According to our knowledge, the standards for clinical trials in the GDR corresponded to the prevailing standards at the time,” said the VFA’s chief executive Birgit Fischer. “GDR law provided guidelines for clinical tests which were comparable with those of Western states and the US.”

More than 50 East German hospitals were involved in the clinical trials, Der Spiegel reports. It says the Western drug companies that took part included Bayer, Schering, Hoechst and Sandoz, which is now part of Novartis.

In statements to the Associated Press news agency, spokesmen for Novartis and Bayer said their clinical trials, to their knowledge, conformed with ethical and legal standards.


Liow: New RM250mil hospital to replace existing Tanjung Karang Hospital

TANJUNG KARANG: A new RM250mil hospital will be built here to replace the existing 46-year-old hospital.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who launched the site of the new building here, said the 150-bed hospital would be ready by 2016.

“The groundbreaking and earthworks will be done this year. JKR (Public Works Department) will be calling for tenders. Next year, the infrastructure works should commence,” Liow told reporters after inspecting the 16.19ha site on Thursday.

The site, located 6.5km from Tanjung Karang town and 7.5km from Kuala Selangor town, is expected to serve some 200,000 residents in the vicinity.

The hospital will also be upgraded to a “minor specialist hospital”, said Liow.

“For now, cases requiring specialists are referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital, which is quite a distance away.

“There are eight visiting specialists who come weekly to the current Tanjung Karang Hospital, and when the new building is ready, we will station some of the specialists permanently here,” he said.

The number of doctors serving at the hospital will also increase from the current 22, while horsemanship programmes would also be introduced, he said.

Liow also announced an allocation of RM500,000 to upgrade and maintain the existing hospital, which would be converted into a haemodialysis centre after the new building is completed.

Liow also announced RM6.5mil for the development of a community clinic here, as well as an additional two ambulances for the Tanjung Karang Hospital.

Also present at the launch were Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar, who is also Tanjung Karang MP, Permatang assemblyman Datuk Sulaiman Razak and Sungai Burong assemblyman Datuk Shamsuddin Lias.

The Star –

Many hospitals not sharing crime data, audit shows

Man in a hoodie holding a knife

Similar schemes have seen a fall in incidents of violent crime

A coalition pledge to make hospitals share violent crime data with police is being carried out in only a third of areas in England, an audit shows.

The government has written to hospitals and chief constables for an explanation after the Department of Health audit.

Accident and emergency departments are meant to share information about where knife or gun attacks are happening with the police and local council.

This was part of the government’s programme for government in 2010.


In 2010 the coalition promised in its programme for government to make hospitals share non-confidential information with the police so crime hotspots could be identified.

I would want to say to hospitals and local authorities this is straightforward, ethical information-sharing that makes for safer communities – just get on with it”

Prof Jonathan ShepherdCardiff University

In the government’s mid term report, which measured progress against their programme for government they said “we have established a national scheme requiring hospitals to share information on gun and knife crime”.

But an audit carried out for the Department of Health has revealed that is happening effectively in only a third of community safety partnership areas, and not at all in one-fifth.

The charity Victim Support said it was very disappointing that the plan was not being implemented.

Susannah Hancock, its assistant chief executive, said: “The NHS is the second most likely public service after the police to come into contact with victims of violent crime, many of whom will not have reported such incidents to the police at all. ”

It is thought that police are aware of fewer than a third of assaults that lead to the victim being treated in hospital.

Pioneering research carried out in Cardiff tested the idea of regularly sharing collated information about the type and location of attacks, with all confidential patient information removed.

As a result, the city saw a 35% fall in the numbers of assault victims turning up at A&E for treatment between 2000 and 2005.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, from Cardiff University, said the research showed sharing information costs little, and saves money in the longer term for the NHS and the criminal justice system. He said the findings of the audit were surprising, giving the strong evidence, and the commitment from government.

“I feel disappointed that it hasn’t been taken up faster than this, and I would want to say to hospitals and local authorities this is straightforward, ethical information-sharing that makes for safer communities – just get on with it.”


Arrowe Park hospital, in the Wirral, has seen some impressive results from setting up systems to share information every month with the police and local council. Anyone arriving at A&E with an injury caused by a violent assault is taken through a standard set of questions about the location and circumstances of the attack.

The information has all patient data removed from it before it is shared. Between 2004 and 2010, the number of alcohol-related assault victims arriving for treatment fell by 30%.

Chris Oliver, from the Wirral University Hospital Trust, said the results had convinced busy staff in A&E to get involved: “It’s owned by everyone within the department. The reception staff are very proactive when going through the questions. It’s very rewarding for our staff to see the reduction in people coming into the department. It’s a win-win.”

The Department of Health said Health Minister Anna Soubry had written this week to all hospital chief executives and chief constables in England to remind them of the government’s commitment on sharing information.

The letter says there are no legal reasons for not sharing anonymous information, and asks for any “good reasons why it cannot be done” in areas which have failed to put systems in place.

Despite this slow progress in implementing the approach in England, the idea has attracted international interest and there are pilot schemes under way in other countries.


Hospital that is a tourist attraction

THANK YOU: Lau (second right) receives the MRP fund from Dr Annuar, witnessed by Ting (left) and the association’s secretary Dr Hu Chang Hock.

SIBU: Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum, which is the only one of its kind in Malaysia, could be promoted as a tourist attraction.

Chairman of Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum Association, Sibu, Temengong Vincent Lau Lee Ming said the promotion would complement other tourism attractions in Sibu.

Speaking to reporters at the museum after receiving RM5,000 in MRP (Minor Rural Project) funds from Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapa’ee yesterday, he said the display of medical equipment used in the early days at the museum was informative.

He called on other hospitals to donate their old and obsolete medical equipment to the museum.

Lau said Dr Annuar, who is also the association’s advisor, has served in LKH Hospital.

Dr Annuar revealed that both his parents had also served in the hospital in the 1960s and 1970s. His mother worked as a senior assistant nurse until her retirement and his father at its pharmacy.

“I will make it a point to contribute yearly for the upkeep of the museum. The display of old medical equipment used in the early days which involved an evolution in medical history underlined the difficult time undergone by the medical profession.”

Such museums are an eye-opener to youths in the medical profession, he added.

The museum’s manager John Ting said the museum, jointly run by the association, Sarawak Health Department and Sibu Municipal Council, operates from 9am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. It opens to the public on a Monday if it happens to be a public holiday.

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