After second chance for contractor, ‘new’ Penang Hospital set for year-end

A file picture of the MRI facility at the Penang Hospital. The hospital has been undergoing upgrade works worth some RM15 million. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The newly upgraded Penang Hospital is set to be unveiled by the end of the year, as most of the works to upgrade the century-old hospital nears completion.

The RM15 million project to upgrade the hospital was supposed to be completed in June, but Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said it was delayed due to several factors including lack of competency on the part of the contractor and the consultant.

“The project is 84% completed, but it is behind schedule. We are watching developments closely, to ensure there are no further delays,” Dzulkefly said after a visit to the hospital today.

He said the government decided to give the consultant and contractor “another chance”.

I hope they will buck up and ensure the December deadline will be met,” he added.

The delay in the hospital’s upgrade has resulted in a backlog of surgeries. Its main operating theatres have been closed for the past two years.

The project was to upgrade the intensive care unit, the air conditioning and electrical systems, and the medical gas plant.

Dzulkefly said to address the backlog of cases due to the closure of operating theatres, surgery hours would be extended to 6pm on weekdays and Saturdays at both the Penang Hospital and Kepala Batas Hospital.

He said some RM1.77 million was approved for this purpose, as well as to pay overtime claims from hospital staff.

Penangites suffer as operating theatres not in operation