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RESPONSE - UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL KNOWN AS UH HAS ENDLESS CONSTRUCTION GOING ON
 Update on: 1/10/2018
 

1st October 2018

We make reference to the article which cannot be found anywhere on Malaysiakini website but claims to be from there, which starts with “University hospital known as UH has endless construction going on”.

In general, the article makes very serious allegations of poor facility maintenance namely of the lifts and bathrooms (according to the writer is no better than a third world country). The article also claims that the expensive canteen (we assume this when it is mentioned as “grossly excessive”) and high car park charges for patients to pay is attributed to the tender being awarded to someone’s crony, and on the expense of sickly patients. The author also claims that he/she have been informed by someone that a crony is making large profits from the carparks, and that “these blood suckers” are raking profits from the public.

The response from UMMC is as follows:

1. This article although claims to have been published in Malaysiakini, is not available anywhere on the website. We therefore cannot confirm the validity of the claims nor confirm with the author as to the source of the information mentioned here.

2. We assume that university hospital here refers to University of Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) as the name UH have not been used for close to 2 decades.

3. As a premier university hospital for the country, we need to provide a cutting edge technology and treatment that complements every sub specialities. We have been trying our level best to balance between providing better facilities, services and environment with the grant that the Government provides and internal funds, generated within the hospital facilities.

4. With regards to the “endless construction”, UMMC has not done any major construction except for the building, which is to be designated as “Plaza”. The plaza was planned as a building to help ease congestion in the future as human movements have dramatically increased in UMMC for the past 10 years and is expected to increase even more in the next decade. Other constructions that have been taking place are merely upgrades of many dated facilities such as the operating theatres, intensive care units, cardiac care units, infection diseases wards and accessibility for patients and visitors such as larger walkways, better lighting, replacement of leaky roofs, wheelchair accessibility, accessibility for the blind and many others. It needs to be reminded here that UMMC has been operating for more than 50 years and some of the facilities are very dated such as the toilet and lifts that are mentioned by the author. Upgrades are unavoidable, and these are necessary for the need of patients, present and future. When UMMC was first built, approximately 50,000 patients were treated annually whereas today we are seeing over 1.1. Million patients with outpatient visit exceeding 5,000 a day. As mentioned above, as a premier university hospital, facilities have to be developed further in order to keep up with demands and the progress of technology. These changes are necessary for the public and patients, in order to receive the best possible healthcare.

5. In terms of facilities, the author claims that “most of the time, the lift is not working” is not true. We have the data to show that the lifts run most of the time however admittedly, breakdowns are a regular occurrence. Again, the reason for this is the fact that some lifts are aged whilst others are overused owing to the number of passengers and equipment transported every day. There are some delays in the repair of these lifts in some instances, but these are not due to financial issues or lack of expertise. The lifts are specialized equipment, which are under the purview of Jabatan Keselamatan dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan (JKKP). Under law, only the vendors/operators are allowed to repair them. In some instances, spare parts take months to arrive and hence delays the repair by the vendors/operators. We have taken temporary and long term active measures to deal with this including getting poterage lift services, and although it appears to have positive effects, unfortunately there are occasions that the traffic load frequently overwhelms whatever interventions that has been put into place.

6. As to the washrooms looking “equal to 3rd world countries”, we assure you that the toilets are regularly cleaned and repaired. Whilst there are intentions to have large overhauls of toilets throughout the hospital, we are not able to do all of them at the same time due to the need to provide convenience to the public. Sadly, in most toilets that have been upgraded, it did not take long before toilet seat and toilet bowls (including the tank covers) are broken with shoe prints all over them. Vandalism is a major thing that in UMMC with people stealing the toilet pumps, valves, faucets etc. occurring very regularly. This has caused UMMC thousands of ringgit every year to repair and replace. The cleaners have been scheduled to clean the highly used toilets every 15 minutes (with record entry) but these toilets are so badly used that it is impossible for us to ensure cleanliness are maintained. These data are available for review if need be. Therefore, I would agree that there is an element of 3rd world country here, but it is in mentality and attitude of the users themselves not of the toilets as seen from the pictures given here. They end up looking like 3rd world toilets due to people’s attitude in using them in the first place.

7. UMMC does not have a canteen. We have a food court, bakeries, push carts, restaurants and a cafeteria. In trying to make sense to what the author refers to as canteen, we assume it is the cafeteria. The “cafeteria” also known as “Food Street” was specially created to meet the demand of the lower income group. The prices here are regulated and we are confident that the prices are reasonable, if not better that than others. For eateries like MakCik, Secret Recipe, Gloria Jean etc. which belongs to a large food chain store, their charges are standard across the country. It is very unlikely that the charges are higher here than that of other stores. As such, the rent is not an issue of how high the prices of the product sold on these premises since they are equal to that of other places country wide.

8. On the issue of the car park, UMMC has contracted this service to Metro Parking for over 4 years now. This was done in view of the need of professional company to cater for high demands from public. It is also because this is not the core business of UMMC. The process for the selection of the company was done following government standards, and was conducted by UM Holdings and the company was awarded based on experience and best practices. The charges for parking in UMMC is RM2 every hour, and RM8 flat rate after 6pm. In comparison, HKL charges RM2 for the 1st hour and RM 1 for subsequent hours. IJN charges RM3 for the first hour and RM1.50 for subsequent hours, but offer mainly open car parks. The discount claimed by the author is only given to patients who are treated and that the charges have been taken into account of the hospital bill. Across the road from UMMC, an open car park is an alternative and charges RM1 per hour, and a flat rate after office hours. Compared to other parking sites in the region; Pantai Hospital charges RM3/hour, Jaya One charges RM3 for the first 2 hours and RM3 every subsequent hour and, Amcorp Mall charges RM3 for first hour and RM2 for subsequent hours. Therefore, the charges done by our parking operator, is not as high as what the author claims.

9. One reason for the slightly higher rate in UMMC relates to the number of parking spots available in UMMC and the need to ensure that irresponsible car owners are not occupying parking spaces excessively. Based on previous experience when parking were only RM1per hour, cars were left for long term occupying as many as 20% of the total parking spaces. With a total of 4,000 to 5,000 patients (and sometimes more) treated as outpatient everyday, UMMC can only provide 1,000 parking lots at any one time. This does not include the need to accommodate 5,000-10,000 visitors, roughly 2,000 students and almost 6,000 staff that require parking spaces every day as well. Therefore, it is vital that the turnover of parking bays is done quickly. The rates implemented have ensured that this is made possible.

10. UMMC recognizes this shortfall of parking spaces and has made several proposals to the Economic Planning Unit to relocate many of these outpatient clinics into a complex which will have about 2,000-2,500 parking lots but this have not materialized since it was mooted 3 years ago. Other proposals that we have made include the eco-bus transport and park and ride several years ago but this was not considered.

11. Lastly, the most serious matter that needs to be replied to here, is the allegation that money collected as rent from these premises and contract to manage the parking was given to a “crony” and that there is malicious intent with someone financially exploiting the situation. We are quite happy for any investigation regarding this matter is done, as the processes of vetting, selection and transaction were conducted in orderly and is transparent. The processes and operations have been made known to Audit Negara and Ministry of Higher Education, through various channels and therefore nothing was done illegally as suggested by the author. The money gained from these enterprises will be ploughed back to the hospital’s operation. The government grants provided to UMMC (for example for 2018) are approximately RM400 million a year (salary takes up to RM312 million) and the need to operate the hospital comes to about RM560 million a year (with the aid of other government sources). UMMC uses financial sources such as parking and rental to make up for this, and thus this collected funds are used to provide the medications and other services such as radiology, endoscopy etc. needed by patients since UMMC patients are heavily subsidized. This is reflected by the low charges imposed on patients. For example; ICU bed per night is only RM80 (compared to private practices which can go up to RM2500 or more per night), consultation is only RM5 to RM15 (as compared to RM75 or more), simple surgeries such as trigger finger release is RM 40 (whereas it would cost RM1500 or more in private centres) and there are many other examples. Of this, our data shows that over 70% of our total number of patients are non-paying patients. These figures and the return of collected money to patients are clearly reported in our annual reports, which is available to anyone on-line from our website. So therefore, when the author write “these blood suckers are raking profits…” the best guess would be that the author is referring to UMMC patients as the blood suckers who are benefiting from the monies collected to treat them.

In general, what the author claims here are anecdotal (and in many instances are just hyped up lies) and although we appreciate that the author may be facing difficulties, the matter could have been resolved if these were discussed through proper channels. We are somewhat saddened that the author has made such wild allegations and as such, we are happy if the author can provide evidence and reveal his/her sources that are claimed to exist. It would appear that if there is no evidence to this, then these writings are nothing more than mere slander; intentionally and maliciously done just to rile up negative public opinions against UMMC; an institution that has done many good things for patients and for the rakyat for over half a century. Such evil and spiteful intent cannot be left unheeded and therefore if the public has any information to the whereabouts of the author, do let UMMC know so that justice can be served.

We ask the good public of whom UMMC have dedicated ourselves and our lives to selflessly, to help UMMC by spreading this message using any social media available to them, as it is unfair for such wicked claims be spread and not held accountable for. We thank you all for your good deeds and intentions and May God bless you all.

ADDRESS

  • Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya,
    Lembah Pantai, 59100,
    Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

EMAIL

  • Email : ummc@ummc.edu.my

TEL

  • Phone No : 03-79494422
    Fax : 03-79492030

WEBSITE

  • WEBSITE : www.ummc.edu.my