HSA: Ministry to probe no fire safety cert allegation

subramniamJOHOR BAHRU: The Health Ministry is to investigate an allegation that the Sultanah Aminah Hospital, where a fire claimed six lives on Tuesday, does not have a fire safety certificate.

Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said he would discuss the matter with the hospital and the Fire and Rescue Department.

The hospital was built in 1938 and it might not have been necessary to have a fire safety certificate then, he told reporters after another visit to the hospital following the fire.

Dr Subramaniam said the ministry ensured there was sufficient safety and fire protection equipment every time there were changes or addition of services.

He said the hospital had been upgraded many times and had new buildings put up, adding that it had undergone inspections and approvals from the Fire and Rescue Department.

Asked whether the hospital had conducted fire drills or set up fire response teams, Dr Subramaniam said: “Fire management and prevention is the responsibility of the consessionaire and they have the clearest standard operating procedure for the management of fire outbreaks.

“They have had fire drills, but not recently. However, fire safety measures have always been put in place; one is preventive assessment on a periodic level and reporting on it. The second is measures taken in case of fires.

“But in my briefing just now, I emphasised the need to ensure that everybody in the entire set-up follow precautions which has been established 100 per cent.

Tuesday’s fire at the hospital was the first big fire there and was the worst in terms of lives lost in hospital fires in the country.

According to the hospital’s website, the hospital is located in Jalan Persiaran Abu Bakar Sultan, about two kilometres from the Johor Bahru city centre. It was build in 1938 and replaced the earliest hospital in the district built in 1882.

The Sultanah Aminah Hospital, located close to the Tebrau Strait and facing Singapore, comprises five-storey buildings.

It offers 21 clinical services, nine clinical support services and five non-clinical support services. There are seven units under the administration of the hospital.