Sad situation: Patients wait their turn to see the doctor in a cramped waiting area with not enough seats to accommodate everyone.
MIRI: With a doctor-patient ratio of one to 100 daily, queue starts from 5am and snakes to the carpark area.
Such scenes are common at the Miri polyclinic.
In what is a reflection of the dire situation of the health and medical facilities in Sarawak, the Miri polyclinic is struggling to cope with a lack of facilities, shortage of medics and run down facilities.
Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting yesterday inspected the general treatment section of the Miri polyclinic and the maternity and children unit and found them in bad shape.
The ventilation and air-cond system were not in proper working order, there were not enough seats, the treatment facilities and waiting place for patients were seriously lacking and the doctors and nurses had to attend to hundreds of patients who waited as early as 5am.
Ting said the health and medical needs had surged and that the two polyclinics here (one in the old part of the city and the other in Kuala Baram) were operating at maximum capacity.
“The queue is so long that patients have to start waiting as early as 5am everyday.
“Some travelled all the way from the interiors and many are mothers who came with their babies and children who are sickly.
“Some of them came the night before and have to wait until late in the day.
“At the maternity and children section, there are only three doctors and two nurses and they have to treat more than 300 patients everyday.
“That ratio of one doctor to at least 100 patients per day is definitely too much for any doctor to cope with.
“The number of patients is surging every month, including from the rural districts since Miri caters to the health and medical needs of not just the city’s 350,000 population, but more than one million people in the entire northern half of Sarawak.
“The present polyclinic facilities are aged and run-down as they were built decades ago and the manpower needed must vastly improve too,” he added.
Ting, who is state assemblyman for Piasau, said the Health Ministry promised to construct a new RM35mil polyclinic for Miri but so far no date of the project’s completion had been given.
“SUPP will alert Putrajaya again on the urgent need to beef up the number of doctors and specialists and also the amenities and infrastructure for Miri,” he added.