Officials from the Kinmen County Public Health Bureau yesterday appealed to Department of Health (DOH) Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) to have a medical facility built on Kinmen and provide better health care for its residents.
The Kinmen officials made the requests during a visit by Yeh to the outlying county, a trip aimed at gaining a better understanding of the medical services available there.
The officials suggested that Taipei Veterans General Hospital help Kinmen General Hospital resolve staff shortages in specific departments by stationing doctors there.
Kinmen General Hospital should become a branch of Taipei Veterans General Hospital to give it access to a share of the hospital’s medical resources, the officials said.
They also asked that medical transport services between Kinmen and Taiwan proper be improved after a Sunrise Airlines helicopter crashed on July 10 as it was returning from Taipei to Kinmen’s Shangyi Airport after transporting a patient to the Taipei hospital.
The crash was the second of its kind in just over a year.
The previous crash, also involving a Sunrise Airlines helicopter, occurred off Kinmen in May last year. The company attributed that accident to thick fog.
Yeh told his hosts that construction of a new medical facility under the jurisdiction of the Kinmen General Hospital would begin at the end of this year at the earliest.
The new facility, to be equipped with 400 beds and several operating rooms, will be built in three years at a cost of more than NT$1.2 billion (US$36.47 million).
“The new medical center will provide better medical services to Kinmen residents, military personnel stationed here and Taiwanese businessmen working in China,” Yeh said.
“Once the medical center becomes operational, Kinmen patients will no longer need to be transported to Taiwan for treatment, as doctors will be able to travel here from Taiwan to carry out treatment,” he said.
He also said the DOH would look into the possibility of supporting Sunrise Airlines financially to help it tackle problems related to its medical transport duties.