Ajman, UAE: A hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E) department says people with non-emergency illnesses such as colds and coughs should seek treatment at outpatient clinics instead.
According to the A&E department of Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman, 40 per cent of the as many as 350 people who sought treatment each day last year were not emergency cases.
Dr Abdel Helmy, head of the department, said people seemed to think that they would receive the best treatment at A&E even though there are specialist clinics at the hospital for their needs.
“The department has become more crowded by patients because the hospital is near the main roads that link the emirate of Ajman with Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain and we witnessed many traffic accidents,” he said.
Last year, 58,204 people sought treatment at the A&E department.
“Forty per cent of them were non-emergency cases and did not require to come to the department but to the outpatient clinics,” said Dr Helmy. “The medical team is not enough to serve this huge number of patients.”
Many of the non-emergency cases were for flu, throat infections, back and muscle pain.
Dr Helmy said most genuine emergency cases were caused by traffic collisions and accidents at construction sites.
He said most of the accidents were fatal or serious, and 2,274 people involved in traffic accidents used ambulance services last year. Dr Helmy said the public perception that A&E provides better medical treatment than outpatient clinics was wrong because all clinics have qualified doctors and the necessary equipment.
“They come here to escape from paying the fees at clinics and to get faster and better treatment, even though they pay Dh400 for a medical consultant and Dh150 for a doctor, which are the same fees in the clinics,” he said.
Dr Helmy urged people to use A&E departments only for cases in need of immediate attention.
“We ask them to leave the department for emergency cases that need our time and concentration, because these non-emergency cases waste the doctors’ time and take from the time of emergency patients,” he said.
© The NationalJan 2016