Residents began moving to the Seac Pai Van neighbourhood in 2013. If all goes well, the new Health Centre will be fully ready in 2022.
MB July 2021 Special Report | A patient hospital
The Islands Medical Complex may be the biggest, but it’s not the only infrastructure challenge the Health Bureau (SS, the acronym in Portuguese) has on its hands: a few hundred meters away, the Seac Pai Van Health Centre has sat unfinished since 2013, with only a provisional post in operation.
At this provisional health centre users can make external appointments, but outside of office hours and on weekends and holidays doctors are only available “on call”.
“With occupation of the Seac Pai Van public housing complex and the adjacent private buildings, a large community has formed there, but planning and the lack of infrastructure in this neighbourhood has been the target of criticism, in particular the great lack of care, as there is only one provisional health centre and one private practice,” legislator Si Ka Lon asserts.
In March of 2015, the SS presented a project for a four-storey building, but the plan immediately underwent several changes, with alterations occurring nearly every time an opinion was issued. Two years later, at the request of the Social Welfare Bureau, two of the building’s floors had to be transformed into installations for social equipment, necessitating yet another adjustment to the design project.
Finally, in November 2019, the works plan was approved by the Bureau, but it was not until the beginning of this year that a contractor was chosen.
The SS say the works will take a year to complete and that the Health Centre will commence operation next year. After the latest planning and adjustment, the Health Centre of Seac Pai Van will have a built-up area of 5,800 sqm, with the capacity to serve 120,000 inhabitants.
“Residents of the neighbourhood, especially the elderly, yearn for the health centre to start operating as soon as possible, but are disappointed with the changes and incessant delays,” Si Ka Lon adds.
Macau Business promptly asked the Health Bureau about the state of play with this and other works, but no reply was received in time for this edition.
Another ongoing Health Bureau project is the construction of the building for infectious and contagious diseases at the Conde S. Januário Hospital, with the public tender won at a cost of MOP956 million in December 2020.
The awarded contract must be completed in 730 working days. In an implantation area of 5,700 sqm, an eight-storey building will be constructed, including a ground floor at a height of 35.6 meters, with 80 individual isolation rooms, a surgical theatre, laboratory and observation rooms, X-ray and computed tomography (CT) suites, and a floor for the installation of electromechanical equipment. An overpass and a tunnel connecting it to the Conde S. Januário Hospital will also be created.
Committee no more
In 2011, Chui Sai On created the Health System Infrastructure Network Follow-up Committee.
Motives cited for the creation of the Committee were, among others, “the low rate of hospital beds in relation to the population of Macau, the threat of serious illnesses and the emergence of new communicable diseases, as well as the further strengthening of the islands’ response capacity in an emergency situation, making it necessary to improve and reorganize the health infrastructure network”.
One of the objectives of the Committee was to ensure coordination, monitoring and evaluation, globally, of public investments to be made in the context of the “Project for the Improvement of Health System Infrastructures”, a ten-year plan involving MOP10 billion (US$1.2 billion) in public investment.
Nine years later, Ho Iat Seng annulled the Commission, with some of the projects yet to have been completed.
The Health Bureau, in response to a legislator, stated that as of April 2019 the rate of execution of the plan stood at around 55 per cent, with the Emergency Service Building of the Conde S. Januário Hospital, the Health Centre of Ilha Verde and (that year) the Ka Ho Rehabilitation Hospital in Coloane seeing completion.
Yet to be finished were reconstruction works on the Health Centres of Inner Harbour and Tap Seac and the construction of a new health centre on plot TN27 on Estrada Coronel Nicolau de Mesquita in Taipa, in addition to the one planned for Seac Pai Van (see main text on these pages); the long-term plan also included the construction of new health centres in ZAPE and in the North Zone.