Royal concern over medical services
By Liza Mohd

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam cited public concerns over shortages in supplies of medicines as well as lack of medical specialists during the ruler's working visit to Suri Seri Begawan Hospital in Kuala Belait yesterday morning.

During the briefing delivered by the hospital's Chief Executive Officer, Mohmad bin Haji Abdul Hamid, the monarch questioned on the hospital's developments and the need to prioritise its progress towards increasing the number of medical specialists and improving services to the public.

In the briefing room, His Majesty heard 10-year development plans (2010-2020) outlined by the hospital's management team which include a proposal to build a new surgical block to allocate new operating rooms, male and female surgical wards and Belait District Dental Centre which will be constructed in the vicinity of the hospital to replace the old Dental Services Section building.

In addition, the state hospital in Kuala Belait plans to expand and upgrade the Accident and Emergency Section, the Intensive Care Unit and form a High Dependency Unit (HDU) for the hospital's patients who require such medical services.

Apart from that, the plans include the need for workforce, medical equipment and supplies to ensure the new infrastructure and services would perform efficiently in its vision to provide the best healthcare for residents in Belait District and reduce the burden of referral and medical provision from RIPAS Hospital.

The nation's second largest hospital, which started operations in 1972, has also carried out major renovations and extension works that include the construction of Women and Children's block in 2004 to accommodate Paediatric, Obstetrics and Gynecology wards and clinics. In 2005, a block of specialist clinics was open to allocate the Eye, Orthopedic, Dermatology, Physiotherapy clinics and Laboratory Services among others.

In 2006, the hydrotherapy pool was made available and in 2009 a building that serves as a Dialysis Centre was built for patients in the district to receive dialysis treatments.

Furthermore, the hospital houses several modern medical equipment such as the CT scan 16 Slice at the Radiology Section that makes accurate medical diagnosis of patients.

The Chief Executive Officer further revealed the hospital's emphasis on health promotion and organising several programmes for diabetic patients, youths and members of the public.

He added that the hospital's renovation building works are still continuing under the Ninth National Development Plan. The hospital has over 700 staff members and 80 per cent of their staff comprise locals with 325 staff members holding various medical skills and qualifications.

Last year, the hospital recorded a total of 6,230 patients, while the hospital's Accident and Emergency Section attended to 26,211 cases. The Specialist Clinic Outpatient Section recorded 87,928 cases and the Basic Healthcare Services Section recorded 48,688 cases.

The hospital has 222 beds, 12 wards and 18 specialist clinics catering to 80,000 people in the district. - Borneo Bulletin (7th July 2010)