The shortage of anaesthetist in the Heart Specialist Centre in the Sarawak General Hospital

Yesterday, in Parliament, I raised the issue of the shortage of anaesthetist in the Heart Specialist Centre in the Sarawak General Hospital.
Few years ago, the said heart specialist centre had only one cardiothoracic surgeon to carry out open heart surgery. As a result, patients who requires to undergo open heart surgery had to wait for 6 – 9 months before surgery could be done on them. Some even died before the surgery was conducted.
After I raised the matter in Parliament, finally two cardiothoracic surgeons were transferred to the Sarawak Heart Specialist Centre. The situation improved and patients needed not to wait in queue for months to have their open heart surgeries.
However, since sometime middle of last year, the said Specialist Centre has only one anaesthetist, as a result of which, though there are 3 cardiothoracic surgeons, at any one time, only one open heart surgery can be conducted. This is because for all open heart surgeries, an anaesthetist must be present throughout the surgeries.
Therefore, the 2 cardiothoracic surgeons are rendered helplessly redundant due to the lack of anaesthetist. They can only sit around helplessly while the queue of patients waiting for open heart surgery grows longer and longer. It is surely not their fault but the bad planning and neglect on the part of the Health Ministry.
Now, the problem is back to the time when there was only one cardiothoracic surgeon. Patients have to wait for 6 – 9 months before their turns for the operation.
This is a totally waste of human resources. The Health Ministry is wasting the time and talent of the extra 2 cardiothoracic surgeons and also doing a disservice to the patients.
I urge the ministry to quickly resolve the problem by sending sufficient anaesthetists to the said Specialist Hospital
In his winding-up, the deputy Health Minister acknowledged the short-coming and promised to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
Chong Chieng Jen
Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching
ADUN for Kota Sentosa