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Covid patients’ release tightly supervised: QEH
Published on: Thursday, September 09, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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Rela members on duty outside the main lobby of QEH1
Personnel at Queen Elizabeth Hospital 1 (QEH1) have been barred from making requests for Grab drivers, on behalf of discharged Covid-19 patients whose families cannot pick them up from the medical institution.

A QEH spokesman said the administration would arrange to have one of the Hospital’s ambulances, or vans, send them home.

“Nurses on duty at the Isolation Ward are required to fill out a transport request form for this purpose,” he said.

“Patients can only leave the Ward once our ‘Unit Kesihatan Awam’ (Public Health Unit) has issued the necessary clearance letter.”

He said they were then escorted to the loading bay area, near the Forensics Department, for QEH1 to meet their family members or next of kin.

“Their release is tightly supervised by members of the People’s Voluntary Corps Department (Rela). All Covid patients, even those who are no longer infectious, are prohibited from making use of our main lobby in order to be warded at or depart from the Hospital.”

He said Rela had been monitoring the movements in and out of the institution closely, round-the-clock, for some time.

“Three Rela members are on duty at the main lobby and also at the Forensics Department, while one individual is stationed outside each of our wards.

“So, there is zero chance of patients ‘escaping’ from the Hospital.”

The spokesman explained that Covid sufferers, who were found to be non-contagious after undergoing 10 days of treatment, were permitted to return home and re-enter society.

“This is per the guidelines set out in a circular on the management of Covid-19 patients at government hospitals and quarantine centres.

“So, there is no need for the public to panic about coming in contact with these former patients as they are no longer infectious.” 

The spokesman was responding to a query from a Penampang Grab driver who couldn’t understand how one of his peers could have been asked to fetch a Covid-positive patient from QEH1.

ISMAIL said his friend, who also worked for the e-hailing service, received a request to go to the Hospital on a recent Thursday afternoon. 

“When he arrived, he found out that the request had come from a nurse,” he said. 

“She apparently wanted my friend to send a patient who was Covid positive back to his home in Tuaran.” 

He said his friend refused to allow the passenger into his car and went on to warn other drivers to be careful if they received a request from the nurse’s handphone. 

“He cautioned them against accepting the request, especially if the pick-up point was QEH1.”

Ismail felt that the nurse had acted irresponsibly by seeking out the Grab Driver. 

“My friend could easily have contracted the disease by ferrying the patient to his destination. 

“The Hospital should have transported the patient home in one of its ambulances, instead.”

Ismail provided Hotline with the date of this incident which was forwarded to QEH1.

Meanwhile, the Health Department is looking into a complaint about a Covid testing-center being run outside a community clinic at a commercial property in the Sepanggar Bay area. 

YEN of Manggatal said the tests were being conducted in the car park outside the clinic which was only a few doors away from his eatery.

“I have lost a substantial number of dine-in customers since the clinic began operating the testing-centre,” he said.

“Many of my patrons are afraid that they might catch the disease. They do not want to be anywhere near those who could potentially be Covid positive.”

He said several other unit-owners there were also worried about the negative impact the testing-center would have on their business.

The proprietor provided Hotline with the location of the testing-center which was forwarded to the agency. 

A Department spokeswoman said the relevant section would be alerted to his concerns.

“Our staff will visit the commercial center to check on the way the testing-center is being run,” she said.

“They will also speak to the clinic’s administration, before deciding how best to proceed.” 



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