Keeping our hospitals running : more than meets the eye

Woman washing handsby Dr Sargunan Sockalingam

Recently, prominent newspapers, the Star and The Malay Mail highlighted serious problems regarding hospital support services (HSS) among prominent public hospitals in the Klang Valley. These led to investigative reports that informed the public about the companies that were entrusted with keeping our wards clean, operation theaters safe, hospital toilets sanitized and biohazard waste disposed properly. It appears that the matter has since been resolved.

Klang Valley hospitals have high a volume and turnover of patients. They are busy. Try visiting Hospital Tuanku Ampuan Rahimah (HTAR), Klang on a regular day. First you will notice that cars are parked everywhere. Every available space. Double parking and T-parking are some common practices.

What is T-parking? Imagine if your car is parked properly but you can’t drive away, because there is a car parked directly ahead of you, perpendicular, so that both your cars form a T. Easy. Just push the offending vehicle out of your path (with your hands, not your car). This would be possible, since the clever fellow deliberately did not apply his handbrake. It is either that or if said clever fellow left his cellphone number displayed on his windscreen you could make a friendly phone call, to request this kind genius to remove his gleaming car out of the way, so you could get the heavens out of the place. Quickly, before you were attacked by the crows (if like me, you were from Klang, you would understand what I mean).

Similar situations (sans crows) greet almost all public hospitals, all over the country, and this goes a long way to say that our hospitals are busy. Either we are unhealthy despite being God fearing or disease is an inevitable part of life. What also follows is that hospital waste products, some of which are classified biohazards must be generated by the ton. The total amount is probably staggering. HSS, therefore, are integral components of health care. Like the unseen part of the operations of an airport or aircraft carrier they work throughout the day and night, keeping the environment clean, steril

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