SIBU, Oct 5 — The Sibu Hospital management has asked that the contract nurses serving at the hospital be retained until Dec 31 to overcome the shortage of nurses in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its director, Dr T. Nanthakumar said up to now, 53 personnel at the hospital had contracted the virus and quarantined while some were on medical or maternity leave, hence resulting in manpower shortage but the problem could be lessened if the contract nurses were retained.

“The nursing team has also started working on 12-hour shifts. Although the staff’s leave have been frozen, consideration will be given to cases of emergency, medical matters and death (in the family),” he said in a statement today.

He added that Sibu Hospital would be receiving 10 mobilised medical officers and assistant medical officers soon.

“The hospital’s management will try its best to ensure the mobilisation of 35 medical officers, 40 nurses, 25 assistant medical officers and 20 health treatment assistants so that the treatment for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 cases would be carried out smoothly,” he said.

Dr Nanthakumar said Sibu Hospital was also waiting for the setting up of a field hospital with 100 beds and to be managed by its staff and a medical team from the Malaysian Armed Forces in overcoming the bed shortage, especially for COVID-19 cases.

He said there were 13 beds in the intensive care unit of the Respiratory Ward, which was being upgraded and the work expected to be completed by Oct 11.

“The Respiratory Ward as well as Ward 17 when upgraded, are expected to accommodate 75 beds in total, which will indirectly raise the capability of Sibu Hospital,” he added.

Dr Nanthakumar said Ward 17 would start opening tomorrow, providing 24 beds to reduce the shortage problem at the Acute COVID-19 Ward which had a capacity for 64 beds but now accommodating 124 patients.

“Sibu Hospital is also working at sending out patients to the private hospitals around the district for elective surgery cases that have been postponed and an additional allocation of RM600,000 has been received on Sept 27 for this purpose.

“To reduce congestion at this hospital, stable COVID-19 patients will be placed at Daro Hospital and Kanowit Hospital, besides the setting up of a Low Risk COVID-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC) in Daro,” he added.


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