Posted on April 08, 2018

Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) role in helping expand Qatar’s healthcare system to better meet patient needs was highlighted as part of the organization’s World Health Day celebrations. Last year saw the healthcare provider make significant expansions, including the official opening of the new Medical City complex.

The opening of three new hospitals, coupled with the expansion of existing services, the addition of new staff, and improved ways of working led to more appointments for patients, additional hospital beds, and reduced wait times, all resulting in greater access to specialized care.

“The transformation of Qatar’s healthcare system has been substantial and HMC’s contribution has included the opening of new facilities and the implementation of performance and quality improvement measures designed to deliver better care. As our country’s population has grown, so too has the demand for our services and we are at the forefront of providing innovative care. Our clinical teams provide care during more than one and a half million outpatient appointments each year and we are continuing to expand to meet the needs of our population,” Dr. Abdulla Al Ansari, Acting Chief Medical Officer at HMC explained.

Improved access to specialized [].jpgHMC is currently undergoing the largest expansion program in its history. Seven new hospitals have opened since 2011 and recent years have seen the opening or expansion of numerous specialist facilities, including the Hamad General Hospital operating theatres, Bone and Joint Center, Paediatric Emergency Center Al Sadd, and Enaya Continuing Care Center.

“To date, more than 221,000 appointments have been provided to patients at our new Medical City Hospitals. These state-of-the-art facilities care for more than a thousand patients each day. We are also caring for more outpatients across our network of hospitals, with over 17% more appointments available to patients today, compared to last year, and this number is continuing to increase. So far this year we have provided specialized care to an additional 19,000 patients each month at our outpatient clinics, compared to the same period last year,” said Dr. Al Ansari.

Activity at HMC’s general hospitals has also continued to increase year on year. From 2016 to 2017 all three hospitals saw an increased number of outpatient visits with demand for Al Wakra Hospital’s outpatient services increasing by 25%, The Cuban Hospital’s by 31%, and Al Khor Hospital’s by 18%. In recent years HMC has also taken steps to improve access to specialist appointments through adding evening clinics for some specialties. These clinics are intended to increase access and reduce outpatient appointment waiting times.

Surgeries and surgical procedures performed also increased by more than 15% in the last year, enabling nearly 9,500 more patients to benefit from HMC’s surgical services. During the same period, emergency department visits saw a slight decrease, due in part to greater coordination across the healthcare sector and a focus on providing the right care, in the right place. “We are seeing more coordination across the healthcare sector and a greater focus on prevention-driven services and programs that address key health needs as part of the ‘Better Together’ program. HMC, along with our colleagues at the Primary Health Care Corporation, Sidra Medicine, and Qatar Red Crescent are all placing a renewed energy around shifting focus from treating the symptoms of a disease to helping patients stay healthy through education and other preventative services,” added Dr. Al Ansari.

Today, HMC's General Internal Medicine Department kicked off a series of health education seminars that will be held for non-clinical staff at HMC and members of the public during 2018. Held under the theme 'health for all', the seminars are delivered in a number of languages and include short lectures covering the most common community health topics, such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and lifestyle modifications. The objective of the events is to provide health education as part of incasing knowledge, influencing attitudes, and promoting the importance of preventative healthcare.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day theme of ‘Health for All’ aligns with Qatar’s National Health Strategy 2018-2022 theme of ‘Our Health, Our Future’. Qatar maintains a strong commitment to the WHO’s tenet of universal health coverage and continues to invest in the country’s healthcare sector as part of a commitment to providing residents with affordable, quality health services. World Health Day is a global health awareness day commemorated every year on 7 April. The day marks the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 and the global body uses the occasion as an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.