If not for delays, Petra Jaya Hospital could have provided 300 beds more, laments Dr Sim

Screenshot of Dr Sim's Facebook post on the setting up of the field hospital in Kapit.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 4: The Petra Jaya Hospital could have provided another 300 beds including all medical support facilities to strengthen Sarawak’s Covid-19 efforts had the project not faced numerous hurdles and delays after it was put on hold by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in 2018.

Highlighting this, Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian pointed out that if not for the delay after delay, the hospital would be ready by now to provide much needed support and healthcare services to the community in Kuching, more so now with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since it was put on hold in 2018, followed by three times of open tender processes, the Petra Jaya Hospital will cost more than RM600 million (instead of original estimated (sic) at RM400 million),” he said in a Facebook post in response to the setting up of a hybrid field hospital in Kapit today.

On the hybrid field hospital currently being activated in Kapit, Dr Sim emphasised that the precautionary measure and preparation was done in anticipation of the rising number of cases in the area so that local hospitals will not be overwhelmed.

“The challenges (sic) of Covid-19 is to anticipate and set up field hospitals fast where the cases are, to support the local health care facilities.

“Some however choose to continue to play politics rather than saving (sic) lives,” he added.

Dr Sim, who is also the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, extended his appreciation and thanks to the Armed Forces and Ministry of Health (MOH) for their fast response following a discussion on Friday (April 30).

“(I was made to) understand that (the field hospital) will be running in the next few days. It will greatly help Kapit Hospital, not just the facilities but manpower,” he emphasised.

Sarawak, he reiterated, will continue to work closely with MOH and the Armed Forces in ensuring that works involving the setting up of the field hospital will be carried out smoothly.

Meanwhile, the First Infantry Division will be deploying a team of Royal Medical Corps officers and personnel to Kapit this week to review the situation and need to set up a field hospital there.

The field hospital is proposed to be set up at the Malay Community Hall which is located about 5km from Kapit Hospital.

A statement from the First Infantry Division today explained that Kapit Hospital, a specialist district hospital, is facing constraints in accommodating the number of patients currently as the number of Covid-19 cases in the area has dramatically increased.

The survey team, the statement added, was already in Kapit to coordinate with the local authorities including the planning of mobilisation of medical assets and workforce.

The division also pointed out that the task and role of the field hospital is to assist patients in Kapit to get healthcare treatment that does not involve Covid-19 infections, similar to that established in Tawau, Sabah previously. — DayakDaily