Has there been a change in the rules I didn’t know about? That’s what I was thinking when I read the Ministry of Health (MOH) response to the opposition WP’s (Workers’ Party) call for Committee of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the Hepatitis C virus infection cluster at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
The MOH released a statement saying the Singapore government will convene a COI provided the WP is prepared to lead evidence before the COI.
I’m sorry but I always thought a COI was convened to investigate. Since when must a party who ask for a COI need to present evidence before the COI they are asking for? If there’s evidence already, then what’s the need for the COI? I mean is there a need for an inquiry if you already have evidence? That’s just stupid isn’t it?
Now I’m a guy who’s willing to give the government the benefit of doubt but I feel the call from the WP was very reasonable and their response was anything but. At least 5 deaths are now linked to the outbreak at SGH and there are questions on why the public and the MOH were never notified of the outbreak till months later.
From what I read thus far, the discovery of the Hepatitis C cluster was somewhere in April/May but the MOH was only notified of it in late August. By all accounts, that’s wrong. The SGH waited 3 months before informing MOH and I don’t think anyone can blame the public for asking why there was such a delay. Mistakes were surely made so it’s reasonable to ask why the outbreak happened and why the SGH waited so long to inform the government. These are very reasonable questions and an independent COI will answer them.
So I agree with the WP’s call for a COI. Hold it, investigate, answer these questions and put in steps to prevent it from happening again. Not holding the COI will just give more problems for the government as…well, why shouldn’t a COI be held? Do the government know something they’re not telling? Do they know the answers to these questions so a COI is a waste of time?
If so, then the Singapore government need to inform the Singapore public. There was an outbreak that should not have happened and then SGH delay informing people about the outbreak. Why? These are questions the public deserve answers to.