Media Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
The Ministry of Health and even SDMC must properly investigate allegations made by our front liners at SIbu Hospital with regards to the severity of the cases there and the capacity of the hospital and ICU and provide the necessary support and manpower to avoid the hospital from being overrun putting the staff and front liners at risk of burn out.
This is based on an anonymous letter by a Doctor in Hospital Sibu published by CODEBLUE detailing numbers of Covid-19 patients in Sibu Hospital and how ICU beds are full and the hospital is forced to “step down” or transfer some severely sick Covid-19 patients with poor prognosis from critical care to other wards to accommodate new cases in its full intensive care unit (ICU). The doctor also claims that many of the front liners are on a verge of burn out and are exhausted due to the surge of cases in the hospital.
First and foremost, the government must properly investigate these allegations to address them properly and provide the required support in both supplies of basic medical equipment and manpower, and not punish these whistle blowers. These front liners have been working for more than a year to care for us during this pandemic and they should be given the necessary support and be threatened with disciplinary report in such cases.
One thing that I find concerning is how official reporting by SDMC do not reflect what is said to be happening on the ground. Based on the anonymous doctors claims there are currently 27 Covid-19 patients in Sibu Hospital’s ICU, which contradicts the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) official Covid-19 report yesterday that stated there are only 12 active Covid-19 cases in ICU statewide, including five in Sibu.
According to the source, 20 Covid-19 patients in Sibu Hospital are on ventilator support, including 15 intubated. SDMC’s report, however, claimed that Sibu Hospital and its Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) had 14 active intubated Covid-19 patients, out of 20 across Sarawak, as of yesterday.
This for me need proper investigation because such reporting of data must be transparent, honest and clear in order to instil confidence in the public and not create unnecessary perceptions that some things are being covered up. It is dishonest to be reporting something different to the public than what is really happening on the ground. In a public health crisis, honest and clear reporting is important so that the public fully understands the real situation on the ground and then they can provide the necessary support or even intervention if needed.
The other thing that is concerning is the capacity of our ICU in Sibu Hospital currently at the brim. W emust remember that SIbu Hospital is still a “hybrid Hospital” where non- Covid-19 patients are still treated. This puts a lot of stress on the system and our medical professionals especially if non- Covid-19 requires intensive care at the ICU also.
Our front liners need the support from the Ministry immediately. I demand the Ministry to reveal the progress of the 430 Ministry of Health personnel that will be sent to Sarawak to assist in our Covid-19 response. These personnel must be given all the needed support and arrangements to fly over and help as soon as possible. If needed, the Ministry should mobilise even more to cater for the rising need in Sarawak.
I also urge the Ministry to provide adequate medical supplies and equipments to all our Hospitals and not let the ventilator fiasco happen again. We should not be taken for granted and the people living in Sarawak should not have to bear the consequences of years of neglect on our healthcare system in the region.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching