A total of 102 out of 167 rural clinics in Sarawak do not have resident doctors, revealed Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.
To fill the gap before permanent doctors can be posted to these clinics, the Rural Clinic Visiting Doctors service was implemented in 2017.
“To-date, 51 clinics are visited every month, nine clinics are visited once every two months and three clinics are visited once every three months under Phase 1 of the programme.
“The remaining 39 clinics will be included into this programme under Phase 2 in 2018,” he said.
Dr Sim also disclosed that the Sarawak government had allocated RM2.1 million in 2018 to finance upgrading of rural clinics through partnership approach, namely the Rural Clinic Visiting Doctors and Cluster Clinic System.
He said as of June this year, the Health Department had received RM4 million in federal funds to upgrade and repair existing clinics mostly for internal rewiring and utility connection, repair work for damages caused by flood and those in dilapidated condition.
Apart from physical repair work, a total of RM16.4 million was approved this year under the Medical Equipment Enhancement Tenure (MEET) programme to equip health clinics and dental clinics with the necessary medical equipment throughout Sarawak.
To overcome overcrowding issues at the Emergency & Trauma Department of Sarawak General Hospital, Dr Sim said the Ministry of Health (MoH) has approved a funding of RM1.096 million to convert the Convention Hall into Medical Ward 5 (24 beds) including provision of equipment.
The Health Department has also submitted a proposal to MoH for upgrading of the female ward in Serian Hospital.
“This proposal if approved will increase the number of beds and will reduce the number of patients to be referred to Sarawak General Hospital for admission.
“The MoH will also look at other alternatives including negotiating with private hospitals in Kuching in terms of leasing of ward spaces and other facilities,” he said.