KUALA LUMPUR – The government does not intend to suspend the services of hospital support services concessionaire, Medivest Sdn Bhd during the investigation into the fire at Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA), Johor Bahru.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said this was to avoid the disruption of hospital support services in HSA and health services offered by the company being affected in Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.
In addition to HSA, Dr Hilmi said Medivest Sdn Bhd also maintained 21 other hospitals in the South zone, namely six hospitals in Negeri Sembilan, three hospitals in Melaka and 12 hospitals in Johor.
“However Medivest can be imposed with a penalty or other sterner action if found not to have complied with the obligations set in the concession agreement committee as a result of the report from the Independent Inquiry Committee later,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.
He was replying to Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Kluang) who wanted to know if the services of the company would be suspended during the investigation.
Dr Hilmi said the Medivest contracts for all the hospitals were estimated to cost RM350 million, involving the maintenance of engineering facilities, biomedical engineering, linen and laundry, waste management health facilities, cleaning services and management services facilities.
According to him, the Independent Inquiry Committee set up to conduct a detailed investigation on the fire, was expected to provide guidance and make improvement on a safer hospital management system.
He said the committee is chaired by the Public Works Department and also comprised the Occupational Safety and Health Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Board of Engineers Malaysia besides the Health Ministry’s planning and engineering services divisions.
To a supplementary question on the Medivest Sdn Bhd’s concession period expiry date and on whether the ministry intended to offer an open tender after that, Dr Hilmi said the contract would expire in 2025.
“After that we will reconsider whether to open tender or others. The new contract was signed last year. It is a continuation from the 15 years before this, (while) this is for an additional 10 years,” he said.
He said international companies were also appointed to evaluate the performance of Medivest Sdn Bhd’s services before contract was extended.
Replying to a question from Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) on the ministry’s measures to ensure similar incidents do not recur, Dr Hilmi said the ministry constantly conducted routine monitoring on all government hospitals.
In the incident at about 9 am on Tuesday, six patients died when the Intensive Care Unit ward on the second floor of the five-storey HSA was on fire while another patients was saved.
Three hosital staff were injured and now being treated at Sultan Ismail Hospital. – BERNAMA