WP: WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT DELAY ANNOUNCEMENT OF HEP C OUTBREAK?

The WP has taken the Singapore government to task for its decision to reveal information about the Hepatitis C outbreak at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) 4 months after it was first discovered in June 2015.

In a statement on the WP website issued today (7th Oct), the WP said that since SGH had been aware of the infection cluster since early June 2015, it should have made the information public earlier because a Hepatitis C outbreak is a potential public health risk to all citizens, especially those who wish to seek treatment at the hospital.

The WP is also seeking “clarifications” from the Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on the standard protocols taken when it comes to releasing information on such outbreaks, such as whether there is a time frame within which healthcare institutions must report such incidents to the Ministry and what is the permissible interval of time before the ministry must make such information public.

The WP has also asked the minister to clarify what measures have been put in place outside of SGH since June 2015 to mitigate the health risks caused and to prevent the Hepatitis C virus from spreading outside of the cluster.

These questions were posed with the view towards strengthing Singapore’s infection control protocols for future cases, the WP statement read.

The WP has also welcomed the formation of an independent review committee to investigate this incident to lean from the mistakes of this incident and to prevent future occurrences. The party has called on the Singapore government to make known “any potential health risks to the public and all healthcare institutions as soon as possible so that the public can make informed healthcare choices for themselves and their loved ones, and institutions can take the necessary precautions.”

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