Saturday, January 22

Run independent investigation into healthcare worker’s claims — PSB


KUCHING: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) has called on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to appoint an independent team of professionals to look into the issues raised by a concerned healthcare worker known as Burnt Out HCW on a portal.

In a statement on Friday, PSB said the probe into the claims should not rely on politicians.

The party said it was shocked by Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian’s recent response to Burnt Out HCW’s claims.

“In today’s (Labour Day) The Borneo Post, Dr Sim is reported to have suggested that the writer needed ‘counselling’ as she may not ‘have enough experience’ and ‘mental toughness, of which university and lack of work experience will not prepare you to cope’.

“Without any investigation whatsoever of the facts raised by the healthcare worker, Dr Sim appears to have brushed her off as an inexperienced healthcare worker, just out of university and lacking mental toughness for which she may need counselling.

“Dr Sim said he will ‘look into’ the claims made but who would have any confidence in his purported investigation given his apparent pre-judgment of the issues raised?” PSB questioned in the statement.

The party said at this time of crisis, healthcare workers ‘are in the frontline of the battle, not the administrators and pencil pushers’.

It noted that the healthcare worker complained that the “testing and quarantine of the healthcare workers were haphazard – all were asked to come back early despite having Day 13 swabs pending, ultimately leading to disaster, with spread among healthcare workers running rampant and quarantine of healthcare workers left, right, and centre”.

“This is a factual complaint, which can easily be ascertained to be true or false. The investigation ought to have been launched immediately and it is very poor form to comment on the mental toughness or alleged inexperience of the complainant before even starting the investigation,” PSB said in the statement.

The party said the complaint about healthcare workers’ quarantine centres having poor living conditions could also easily be verified.

“Ward allocations are changing every day and we at ground level are asked to relocate from a different place to different place like refugees during a war. We are kicked out of our own wards without notice and asked to manage our department patients in a different ward. Higher-ups spend more time squabbling over who gets to keep more wards for themselves and keeping themselves ‘clean’,” claimed the healthcare worker.

PSB questioned whether this is a fact and, “if so, what were the reasons for these apparently haphazard directives?”

PSB also asked whether it was true that Sarawak Heart Centre administrators refused to take patients “despite being cleared of Covid, and refusing to send help over and instead are hoarding manpower and resources”.

The party said this is also easily verifiable and ‘if it is true, then the authorities must step in to rectify the situation’.

According to PSB, it had made enquiries of its own and found that the Sarawak Heart Centre refused to take in patients from Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) despite those patients being cleared of Covid-19.

The party said SGH’s space and healthcare workers had been overwhelmed with serious overcrowding and the Ministry of Health (MoH) needed to step in to compel the Sarawak Heart Centre to assist SGH by taking in some non-Covid patients.

In light of the serious factual complaints of mismanagement, PSB said it would be a gross dereliction of duty on part of the MoH not to conduct a full independent inquiry.

“It does serious injustice to the one who dared to speak up to say she ‘needs counselling’ or that she is inexperienced as her university education never trained her for this crisis.

“Look into the facts and do not try to undermine the complainant before the facts are fully and independently investigated. Otherwise, repeated statements of caring for and appreciating frontline healthcare workers will ring hollow and sound hypocritical,” added PSB.