Visitors welcome new health centre’s hours

National 3 minutes, 2 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

NEW visitors to the Berakas Health Centre yesterday lauded its long opening hours, saying they were conducive to patients’ needs and differing work schedules.

The recently opened centre operates from 7am to 9pm on Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays and from 2pm to 9pm on Fridays, Sundays and public holidays.

According to a Ministry of Health (MoH) representative, the Berakas Health Centre is currently the only one in the country that has extended opening hours.

Previously, members of the public would visit the Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) Health Centre on Jln Ong Sum Ping for post office hours healthcare services, he said.

At the time, however, it was operating from 7am to 12.15pm, 1.30pm to 4.30pm and 6pm to 9pm on Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays whereas the Berakas Health Centre operates from 7am to 9pm on these days with no breaks, he said.

Dk Norhazirah Pg Abd Rahman and Ak Md Nuraliakbar Pg Hj Sulaiman, who were spotted in the Primary Health Care services section of the Berakas Health Centre yesterday, said the centre’s longer hours provided patients with better access to healthcare.

“During office hours, people can be very busy and weighed down with additional tasks such as picking up their children, so they’re just free to see the doctor on their off days or public holidays.

“So it’s a good thing that this centre is open on Fridays, Sundays and public holidays to cater to people’s different schedules,” said Dk Norhazirah.

Both of them, however, suggested that clearer signage be put up at the health centre to better direct patients to the departments they needed to visit.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Nambi Ramamoorthy and Sangeetha Rajendiran, who were visiting the centre’s flu clinic.

Ramamoorthy said the health centre’s opening hours were “definitely beneficial” for him and his family.

“Usually if I had an off day on Friday and I wanted to go to a clinic, I had to go to RIPAS Hospital, which takes a lot of waiting time, as almost all health centres are closed on Fridays.

“And clinics are usually not open on Sundays, so this (centre’s opening hours are) definitely better for us,” he said.

Ramamoorthy also praised the Berakas Health Centre’s efficiency, saying that his visit yesterday was a “very quick experience”.

“I went to our old health centre last week at 9.30am and was there till 11.30am. We didn’t know when they were going to call us because there were so many patients there.

“So we really like how there’s an ordered waiting time here. They didn’t used to give us numbers (at our old health centre), but here, they provide us with numbered tokens so we can keep track of when it’s our turn,” he said.

Fatin Norafiqah Merali, 24, similarly said the health centre’s long opening hours were a plus which allowed her to manage her time more productively and hoped that newer health centres, should they be built, would have extended operating hours as well.

Fatin said she experienced “very fast service” at the Berakas Health Centre and spent just five minutes waiting for her medicine at its pharmacy yesterday.

The Berakas Health Centre – the largest in the sultanate – first opened on May 17.

Among the services offered at the centre are primary healthcare services (fever clinic, flu clinic and chronic disease clinic), maternal and child health services, optometry services, community nutrition services, rehabilitation services, psychiatry services and dental services.

The $14 million health centre, which covers 11 acres, was built as part of the country’s 10th National Development Plan (2012-2017).

The Brunei Times