Have you being to Penang General Hospital lately? We have heard so much negative about the bad reputation and services of government hospital. Poor nursing, poor parking, overcrowded hospital, poor administration,....and lately,the issue of Aedes Mosquito breeding there, have further aggravate the negative image of Penang General Hospital.
If I said you can now getting fast service from Penang General Hospital, do you believe? I have experienced it recently. It is a most welcome refreshing change...
People said good doctors are all in private hospitals; what remain in Penang Government General Hospital are the young doctors under horsemanship; the doctors and nurses are racially biased toward a single race, which created communication problem, especially for the old folks. The Penang General Hospital's image was not that good to Penang people. Most of the Penang people avoid going to General Hospital if financially capable.
Government General Hospital is an alternate to Private Hospitals, Malaysia had inherited from the colonist one of the good medical hospital system. It was the Government General Hospital that served the medical needs of people during the colonial days and early days of Malaysia independence. Until the arrival of private hospital industry, government hospital and private hospital run by charitable organization or Christian mission were the choice of the people. The charges are cheap and the services are good.
My perception toward the government general hospital is different; being familiar with the hospitals in Kuantan and Kuala Lumpur; we know there are good doctors in the government hospitals who faithfully served in the government medical services, despite the attraction of better remuneration from the private hospital sector. These experienced doctors are the one that have the heart for the masses, which gain the respect from the people. The government general hospitals are fortunate to have this type of doctors. They are also the mentors for the many new doctors under compulsory horsemanship. Without them, the private hospitals will have hard time to train new doctors. We salute the doctors in the government general hospitals.
Government Hospital Malaysia charged the lowest rate comparable to other hospitals in the world, it is the best services provided by the government that benefited people. The minimal RM1 for Malaysian, and RM15 for the foreigner, where can you find such rate in the world?. We need to appreciate the service.
Government Hospital are having some facilities that private hospitals do not have; some may not be profitable to operate, or too expensive for the private hospital expenditure. For some cases, private hospital still need to sent their patients to general hospital. However I see the difference that Government Hospitals in Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, which I have visited have new hospital buildings, with better infrastructure than Penang General Hospitals. Penang General Hospital is still in the old colonial buildings, and congested, may be as Heritage City we need to maintain the heritage building. For your info, Sungei Siput hospital, a district hospital in Perak was located at a place surround by the hills, look like a resort. So why the Penang general Hospital still look like an old lady?
Not many non-Malay nurses remained in government hospitals; mainly due to the attraction of higher remuneration from the private hospitals and foreign countries. But also due to the negative perception of government civil services to non-Malay Malaysian. The promotion opportunity, the chances of training, the working environment , the volume of work, the demerit of government civil services are the main criteria for the aspiring nurse. The nursing in government had able to attract the non-bumiputra in the past, during colonial days and early days of Malaysia. Some of these criteria has changed, volume of work in private hospitals are now in increasing trend,they are equally work heavy. But the priority employment for the nurse now is still to enter the private hospital, they attract the best potential candidates from schools. Naturally, the quality of the nursing in government hospitals will decline, mainly due to the leaving of experienced nurses to private sector and to foreign countries; and lower quality of the new nurses replacing them.
The filing system still under manual system, and not computerized. The tons of paper medical files in the outpatient office, is the source of long time wait; the time of waiting for the doctors; and the time taken waiting for the medicine. This together, with the time to find a parking place...make the long waiting time in the hospital. This was the main complaint of the Penang people, too long waiting lah...
The most significant change is the Pharmaceutical department,Penang General Hospital. The counter service of medicine receiving have a big leap forward; they are efficient and fast, compared to the private hospitals, I can say they are even more efficient than the private hospital. They take time to patiently explain the type and usage of the medicines to the patients. They are more friendly, despite the work volume. They even use Chinese and Tamil language in their notification at the counter. This is the most impressive department I have seen. What a refreshing change.....
The outpatient service is also improving, waiting time has declined.
For parking problem, actually a parking block have been constructed. But due to its location, it is difficult for old folks and patients to move from the block to the hospital blocks. Not many people use the parking facility. This is another government project that failed due to poor feasibility study, may be they only cater for normal car owner, not hospital patients.....(note on 8-1-2011: the parking block has now fully utilized, there is lift for multilevel car park and the visitors after parking their car is able to take the lift to ground floor, and walk to the gate near Forensic department, a short distance to the general hospital main entrance. The only problem is the direction to the lift is not clearly indicated in the car park. Well done, PGH!)
But the filing system, the parking area, the cleanness, the nursing....these are the area for improvement. And the hawker area outside the hospital, which is not match to the image of the hospital, firstly it will create traffic congestion, difficult for hospital ambulance van on emergency to move, it avoid the place for the parking; and it create pest problems....
After all with proper administration, Penang General Hospital can be a hospital of the choice not only for the low income people, retired people, and the golden age citizens; but also for all Malaysian. We hope that the Penang Government Hospital will improve further, if everyone play their role effectively and efficiently ....taking example from the Pharmaceutical department of Penang General Hospital.
Penang General Hospital need to improve, for the benefit of the Penang people; for the image of Government Hospitals...... who say Government Hospital cannot compare with Private Hospital, it is time Penang government hospital make their effort to gain back their reputation....
1. My earlier blog on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Penang General Hospital(槟城中央醫院)
2. Penang Hospital to be fined, http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/06pela/Article/
3. Penang wants heavier punishment on contractor, http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?sec=nation&file=/2010/9/25/nation/7100120