Learn from hepatitis C experience: PM

PM Lee was speaking to the media after the official opening of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital on Oct 10, 2015.
PM Lee was speaking to the media after the official opening of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital on Oct 10, 2015. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed that the health authorities need to put things right when something goes wrong, learn from the experience and improve.

Referring to the recent hepatitis C infections at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), he added: "We also always have to be open and transparent with the public and with the patients about what has happened, because we must maintain public confidence and trust in the healthcare system."

SGH had found out that 22 renal patients from one of its wards had the viral infection, which was likely picked up between April and June. Eight of the patients have died. As many as five of the deaths could be linked to the infection.

 

SGH, which notified the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the matter in late August, is in the midst of screening 678 patients who were in its renal wards between January and June this year, as well as 273 staff who were working there.

MOH is still investigating the case. It has also launched a separate independent investigation.

Speaking at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital yesterday, PM Lee said there is a need to "establish what happened, learn from the experience to improve and do better in future".

"When something like this happens our approach must always be first to put things right, find out what's wrong and to put things right, to safeguard the health and well-being of patients. I can't say yet what has happened, how it happened. But I can tell you that is the approach the MOH is taking and which we will take for any similar cases in the future."

Salma Khalik

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Learn from hepatitis C experience: PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe