NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC
QUESTION NO. 407
To ask the Minister for Health (a) how frequently does the Ministry conduct inspections on private hospitals; (b) how many patients have been affected by the suspension of operations by Concord International Hospital; and (c) whether there have been any lapses detected during March to September 2020 while the hospital was caring for COVID-19 patients who were clinically well but tested positive for the virus.
The Ministry of Health conducts inspections on all private and public sector hospitals once every two years. The regular inspections are supplemented with audits, compliance checks and additional inspections where required, for example when there is a change in management or when the institution is taking on new services.
Prior to Concord International Hospital (CIH) providing inpatient care to COVID-19 patients, a joint inspection was conducted by the Ministry together with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in March 2020 to evaluate the suitability of CIH to accommodate COVID-19 patients. There were no non-compliant findings and CIH was assessed to be suitable for the management of COVID-19 cases at that time. The last COVID-19 patient was discharged from CIH on 26 September 2020.
Subsequently, a change in management at CIH was notified to the Ministry on 9 December 2020 and an inspection on CIH was conducted from 14 to 16 December 2020 in view of this change. The inspections revealed several significant lapses from October 2020 onwards, after the last COVID-19 patient was discharged from CIH. These lapses posed significant risks to patient safety and well-being. A stop order was issued to CIH on 19 December 2020 and the Ministry is working closely with CIH to address its lapses.
When the stop order was issued, CIH had on-going outpatient medical appointments with four patients, none of whom were COVID-related. There were no patients warded at the hospital. The Ministry has worked with the management and medical team of CIH to review the treatment plans and ensure the proper continuity of outpatient care for these four patients at other licensed healthcare institutions.