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Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Not many comments made pertaining to the call for Commission of Inquiry on the case about the Hepatitis-C Outbreak at Singapore General Hospital are meaningful, but there are rare ones like this by Jeffery Yeo.
JEFFERY YEO << I explain until sian. The COI is needed, but not until the expert committee can recommend findings on the root cause.
How do you run a commission when the best people who can trace the cause aren't even on the COI. WP said retired healthcare professionals - duh. Healthcare is about currency and practice; and specialties. I doubt they get this...
The review committee will CSI this to the end. I've worked with Prof Leo before in TTSH during the H1N1 scare - she's the best there is in the business and she'll not leave a single stone unturned.
Once the expert committee has done its job, then the COI has meaning.>>
MOTHERSHIP : provided a sort-of-concise version for the understanding of why the Workers Party has called for a COI and concluded with a suggestion that such may not be serious enough to warrant one.
Let's hear from Jeffery Yeo again.
JEFFERY YEO : It is a serious issue - but not a public health crisis. Serious because patients died. Not a health crisis because it's contained and very specific to a patient group.
Actually WP threw shade on the current expert committee. US CDC and JH plus all of the leading ID lights in SG still not good enough for them ah? I wanted to ask WP who they think should then sit in their COI?
Maybe more lawyers?
Renson Seow made some very practical comments, unfortunately tainted with suspicion but nonetheless legitimate.
RENSON SEOW : Ultimately, I think that the final question that needs to be asked is:
"Why not?"
1) Does a COI incur much greater cost than an independent committee? Is there a disadvantage? Why not just do the COI, if there is nothing to hide?
2) If a cluster of deaths do not meet the threshold for implementing a COI, then this raises the question: What would be a serious enough incident? Accidental black hole? Heat death of universe?
3) Why is MOH protesting so defensively? Not once, but twice (once against Rachel Chang, and once against WP)?
But Renson Seow and most of the others including the WP that initiated the call missed the point that MOH had not from the start denied nor rejected the idea of a COI.
MOH : The WP statement is careful not to make any suggestion that SGH or MOH officers acted with improper motives. Yet it has asked for a COI ahead of the Committee’s report and the conclusion of Police investigations.
MOH's statement corroborates with that of Jeffery Yeo in that preparatory investigations are needed to form the basis for calling for a COI, and the Independent Review Committee is highly competent and reliable to meet such expectations.
So let's get back to where it all started, the Workers Party. Did they do it out of pure ignorance of some of these procedural necessities or are they doing it just to score political points as alleged by FAB and FLOP?
This is their first big public gesture since getting bruised at the General Election, but it tells a lot.
For the first time there is a switch of the party's public face from Sylvia Lim to Leon Perera, but the switch is no change at all going by the manner it approaches the case about Hep-C outbreak. It has not demonstrated the ability to be thorough enough to weigh out its options in a wider perspective.
Between the benefits of vital public confidence in the nation's healthcare system and exposing the flaws in that system, it chose the latter alone instead of finding a balance of the two.
Having said, the Press Secretary of MOH had also chosen the former disregarding the latter, especially so in the first rebuke of ST columnist Rachel Chang. Her statement pertaining to that article consisted much suspicions of one that is out to undermine the integrity of Singapore's healthcare system, and these in my opinion are unfounded and unsubstantiated suspicions.
But with people like P N Balji talking about government's continued obsession about suppressing journalistic freedom, I have to find a reason to defend the MOH Press Sec despite not having one.
Before Instagram made it possible for Americans to see what Singapore is like without literally flying in, stories of Singaporeans living on trees still persisted in modern days. Thanks to the works of monkey journalists. And as long as journalist (not all) continues to go about casting unverifiable doubts of the government, how can the government not be suspicious.
If Balji thinks that the light touch isn't there, he may be amazed at how the government is lighthearted about Cheong Yip Seng's book OB Markers.
Objectivity helps us to move matters towards the better end, and ominous suspicion brings us nowhere.

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