The health ministry has ordered government hospitals to mobilise all available resources and manpower to focus on Covid-19 cases.
The move comes as medical resources are stretched to the limits with a 44% increase in serious Covid-19 cases compared with two weeks ago.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a circular that 22 hospitals have reached bed occupancy levels of between 70% and 90%, with many non-Covid-19 hospitals now forced to admit these patients.
He also directed all elective surgeries to be postponed to enable these hospitals to be used for Covid-19 patients, and the staff from these departments be mobilised for this purpose, adding that other wards can also be used to treat them.
He ordered all staff from specialists to nursing staff to be mobilised to treat Covid-19 patients, urging all hospital directors to cooperate and implement this move immediately.
Noor Hisham said Covid-19 hybrid hospitals must now set aside 50% of their beds and resources to treat the rising number of positive cases. Currently, 21% of beds are utilised for Covid-19 patients.
“The policy on home quarantine and monitoring needs to be tightened so that potentially serious cases which need to be warded can be detected early.”
He said hospitals should identify normal wards in hospitals that can be repurposed and turned into intensive care units (ICUs) as the number of serious cases was rising rapidly. These will be in addition to the 482 wards already available.
“With the current shortage in manpower, internal redeployment of manpower should be done with an effective shift system to avoid burnout among medical staff.”
Noor Hisham said newly appointed staff or those on contract should be given rapid training through a buddy system in place to monitor their performance directly.
He said postponed elective surgeries needing immediate attention could be outsourced to private hospitals, in accordance with the provisions outlined in health ministry regulations.
“Armed forces and teaching hospitals have also been asked to help with treating Covid-19 patients.
“State health departments should hold discussions with them to be more effective,” he said. - FMT