Dubai, UAE: The continuing expansion of Rashid Hospital’s trauma unit, more primary care centres and the implementation of electronic medical records are all part of Dubai Health Authority’s ambitious plans for this year.
Huge progress was made last year with the compulsory health insurance scheme a highlight.
But the authority has vowed there would be no let-up with several vital initiatives to be realised this year.
“I hope that we can complete the expansion of Rashid Hospital trauma centre within two years, which is very important as the hospital is serving the whole area and the UAE,” said Essa Al Maidoor, the authority’s director general.
The expansion is to add 160 beds and 116 treatment rooms.
“We will also have electronic medical records before the end of the year, which means wherever you go in Dubai you are given a password and any doctor – whether that be in a private or public hospital – will be able to access your record and add to it. He cannot change it,” said Mr Al Maidoor, on the Dubai smart healthcare model.
“Any medical information will go on that record. It gives the patient total control.
“For example, if you have an allergy or some medication does not fit you and a doctor will try and prescribe that to you, the system will just flag that. It will protect the individual from mistakes.
“The medical records is one of the major things – it will affect the service 100 per cent.”
Mr Al Maidoor has been director general a little over a year. But he has already left his mark on the heath sector in the emirate, having paved the way for new hospitals and more primary healthcare centres.
But perhaps most significantly of all was delivering the long-awaited health insurance-for-all scheme – his personal highlight of last year.
“The health insurance is a big one because it is a vital mechanism which will keep this big engine that we have moving,” he said.
The vision of the Dubai Health Strategy 2013 to 2025, which was published last year, was another highlight, he said.
This strategy aims to turn the emirate into a hub for medical tourism. It includes having hospitals within eight kilometres to 12km of all catchment areas and health centres to be within 3km to 5km.
It also plans for the construction of three new hospitals and 40 primary healthcare centres in the emirate.
“The health strategy has four pillars: buildings and structures such as hospitals; the equipment; the system that we use to operate the hospitals; and the people – the most important resource.”
Doubling the capacity of Dubai’s Diabetic Centre, opening the emirate’s first rehabilitation centre and the launch of the “future health leaders” programme were other key achievements last year, said Mr Al Maidoor.
Over the next year, the DHA also wants to put a focus on establishing more primary healthcare centres to prevent all patients going to hospitals.
“I am trying to create secondary care – 60 to 70 per cent of the operations do not need to be in a hospital,” said Mr Al Maidoor.
“Primary health care is very important. We are going to focus on that and give it more attention. Because prevention and health is much better than correction – you prevent sickness, you save on money and time.”
Along with new medical fitness centres and a revamped Dubai Hospital, health awareness will also play a big part in plans for this year, he said. Building urgent care units to ease pressure on hospitals and more services for the elderly were also important.
“I am looking forward to creating an outlook service especially for the older people,” said Mr Al Maidoor, who wants to establish a mobile outreach programme that will offer a service for older citizens in the comfort of their own homes.
“For senior citizens I also have another idea to create what I call Dubai senior citizen oasis.
“These will be created in some of the parks. We will create an oasis which will also have a medical facility with nurses where people can be brought by the families.
“Work will start on this next year. We do not forgot these senior citizens have done a lot for this country. We must not forget them.”
© The NationalJan 2014