Sharjah, UAE: Al Dhaid Hospital, one of the emirate’s most central healthcare facilities, has been deemed not up to standard by a member of the Federal National Council’s health, labour and social affairs committee.
For a hospital that serves many different areas, there was a need for improvement across the board, said Dr Sheikha Al Ari, an FNC member from Umm Al Quwain, who toured the hospital on Thursday.
“Being located in the middle [of the city], the hospital is supposed to be bigger than that and has to have more services and departments,” said Dr Al Ari.
From the new X-ray machine that lies unused, to a lack of beds in the hospital’s maternity ward for young infants, to ambulances that have been in service for a decade and need upgrading, the hospital needed to turn itself around, the doctor said.
In the summer of 2011, the hospital’s outpatient department shut its doors because of a lack of staff. Administrators were forced to take the decision after four physicians resigned during the year, leaving them with only one doctor.
A tour by the FNC’s medical committee at the time found that chronic staff shortages, brought on by low pay, had led to substandard treatment.
Other issues noted in 2011 by the hospital’s administrative director included old equipment, with items such as ultrasound machines also not working. Most of the equipment had existed since the hospital opened in 2000 and had yet to be replaced.
Earlier that same summer, the lack of a working CT scanner led to the hospital having to turn away three people injured in a road accident.
During Thursday’s tour, Dr Al Ari was accompanied by Salem Al Ameri, head of the committee, Obaid Rakad, an FNC member from Umm Al Quwain, and Salem bin Huwaidan (Sharjah).
“Even though the hospital now has a good X-ray machine, it is still not activated,” she said.
Other issues included patients’ lack of faith in staff, said the doctor.
“Citizens who are customers say that doctors’ qualifications are not as they want.”
Mr Al Ameri, however, said the quality of care and equipment was reasonable, but needed further development.
“I see that what is available within the hospital [in terms of] treatment is reasonable. There are some simple observations. That is why we do our visits to see patients, doctors and officials in hospital and listen to the different views.
“We don’t only rely on what we hear from people outside, so we come to see, check and draft a report and then send it to the Cabinet for consideration.
“The A&E department has vacancies and does not have any pressure. We saw today a new X-ray machine that will be active and in service in a week.
“That means the development is available in the hospital,” he said.
Mr Al Ameri said that the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health were working together to provide MoI ambulances that would help to ferry people from the scene of an accident to the hospital in a short amount of time.
Although good health care was a must, people should be aware that no healthcare system was perfect, said Mr Al Ameri,
“Everyone needs everything to be 100 per cent perfect, and when a patient comes to the hospital and waits for an hour, they would prefer to finish in half an hour.”
He also said that people demanded treatment as soon as possible and, when compared with waiting times in emergency departments in other countries, the service provided by Al Dhaid was adequate.
© The NationalDec 2014