Health minister: 48 hospitals to undergo safety audit

Hospital Batu GajahPUTRAJAYA: Safety audits will be conducted within the next two weeks on 48 hospitals nationwide that are more than 50 years old, says Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

He said the hospitals included the 136-year-old Batu Gajah Hospital and Balik Pulau Hospital, as well as Penang Hospital (81) and Perlis Hospital (97).

He said the cabinet, at its meeting today, discussed the fire incident at Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) in Johor Bahru as well as the need to improve the maintenance and safety levels of all old government buildings.

“The cabinet agreed that the Public Works Department, the Fire and Rescue Department and other agencies discuss and share their views on steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of old buildings,” he told the media at his ministry here today.

As for hospitals, he said, the matter would be discussed by the ministry with the Public Works Department and the Fire and Rescue Department, while for school buildings, discussions would also involve the Education Ministry.

Dr Subramaniam said all buildings should comply with the Uniform Building By-Laws 1984.

“Old buildings cannot be issued with the certificate of occupation because their documents and design plans no longer exist as most were built during the British era.

“Therefore, agencies like the Public Works Department and the Fire and Rescue Department will provide advice from time to time on the safety level of the buildings concerned,” he added.

On the fire at HSA that killed six people last Tuesday, he said, the report would be ready in a week or two and would be tabled to the cabinet.