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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Expansions to Al Sadd Pediatric Center not enough, says senior doctor

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Extended Pediatric Emergency Center at Al Sadd
Extended Pediatric Emergency Center at Al Sadd

The Al Sadd Pediatric Emergency Center is expected to complete its expansion by the end of July and become operational by the end of this year – but the work still won’t be enough to accommodate growing demand for children’s services in Qatar, a senior doctor has said.

“The expansion will help, but it won’t eliminate the waiting (list and congestion) in Al Sadd PEC – we need a bigger emergency center that is part of a hospital,” Dr. Mohammad Al Amri, deputy director of the center, said in an interview with Al Arab.

Al Sadd is HMC’s main pediatric emergency center in Qatar, and is located on C-Ring Road. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are other centers located in Al Rayyan, Al Shamal , the Airport, and Al Daayen districts. But there are no expansions underway in these centers, according to Al Amri.

Expanison of Al Sadd  Pediatric Emergency Center
Expanison of Al Sadd Pediatric Emergency Center

The PEC is overcrowded in part because parents often take non-urgent cases there. The biggest draw is that even non-emergencies are typically handled in less than 30 minutes.

In rare cases, some patients have to wait for up to two hours to be examined, especially in the winter months, during peak hours from 4pm until midnight, according to Al Amri.

He added that there was a new plan in the works to establish a pediatric hospital, where the lower floor is dedicated to the emergency department, “because being far away from Hamad Hospital makes our work more difficult,” he said.

He continued:

“A child is supposed to stay a maximum of four hours in the observation room and then be transferred to a hospital or go home, but at Al Sadd Emergency (Center), some patients stay from 48 hours to four days.” He said. “We now provide emergency care as well as in-patient care.”

Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) recently announced a 15-year plan to double the number of hospital beds and operating theaters in the country by 2030, but its documents did not include mention of a new pediatric hospital.

Separately, Sidra Medical and Research Center, a Qatar Foundation-funded women and children’s hospital, is set to open in Doha within the next few years, but this not would be related to HMC PECs.

With regards to HMC’s long-term plan, the Al Sadd Pediatric Center’s expansion was included.

While many lauded the eventual increase in health services here, some members of the Central Municipal Council slammed the plan, saying it wasn’t enough.

They said that due to the rapid increase in the country’s population and the upcoming 2022 World Cup, Qatar would need at least 10,000 hospital beds by 2030, not just 4,200.

Expansion

According to Al Amri, the PEC expansion will increase the facility’s capacity by about 25 to 30 percent.

Expansion of Al Sadd Pediatric Emergency Center
Expansion of Al Sadd Pediatric Emergency Center

The number of beds in the observation rooms will increase from 42 to 55, and two more beds will be added to “rooms designated for taking vital signs.” The number of examination rooms will also increase from 13 to 17 rooms, he said.

Renovations also include a bigger family waiting area, separate male and female waiting areas and a larger pharmacy.

More nursing staff, 18 pediatric doctors and six consulting physicians have been hired to treat the additional patients, in line with the expansions.

Child treatment

Separately, Al Amri elaborated on a recent decision requiring parents to accompany their children to receive treatment in public pediatric centers.

Children who are brought in for routine or non-emergency treatment by a housemaid, nanny or driver would not be treated, according to the decision, which was implemented April 1.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This is because household staff are often unable to answer medics’ questions about a child’s medical history, allergies or other issues, which can compromise the treatment of the child.

Additionally, doctors need the legal permission of parents before conducting certain tests.

Al Amri said that Al Sadd Center used to receive from 60 to 90 patients a month who were not accompanied by their parents.

“The excuse is always that the mother and father are busy,” he said.

He added that the only excuses accepted for treating children without their parents is travel or illness, not work because parents could always take permission off work to take their children to the hospital.

Al Amri also touched on child abuse, saying that the center received 26 suspected cases in 2014.

The PEC usually reports these cases to the authorities, the social services department affiliated with HMC and the Qatar Foundation for Protection and Rehabilitation, to follow up and protect the children from the abusers, he said.

However, some residents have complained that health officials in Qatar must work on handling these cases more sensitively.

Thoughts?

17 COMMENTS

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Guest
Guest
6 years ago

Good advice

Joe bloggs
Joe bloggs
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Maybe everyone should take the same advice and save a load of money too!! But this will hurt the poorer people most as they will not be able to afford the insurance – especially here in Qatar where there is no minimum wage and i am sure insurance would be expensive – and even though the majority of 3rd world nationals earn more in Qatar, it is still not enough to afford insurance. This would then increase the gap between the have’s and have not’s. It’s fine to comment from the lofty perch. And BTW – I am one of the well paid westerners here – so either way does not affect me. It is also noted that Qatar’s GDP is the highest in the world – so why so cheap and not charitable with the poor people who are helping construct the country.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe bloggs

Yes Yes the labourers have to take their children to the Al Sadd Emergency Center!!

Do you personally pay for your healthinsurance?

Dori
Dori
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe bloggs

Europe as a continent has a high GDP per capita, so why so cheap and not charitable specially to Eastern Europe ? give them the money they deserve and stop this greed.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Here’s a suggestion, the govt should not subsidize the cost of govt provided health care to non-nationals!

Either the expat and their family have health insurance provided by their employer allowing them to use both private and public health care or create a state health insurance scheme for expats who use govt hospitals at rates similar to those of other health care insurance

This would encourage preventative health care by the parents, encourage the number of private clinics and ensure parents only utilize the pedi emergency center for real emergencies ..

Local Economist
Local Economist
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Exactly, and if I am not mistaken the Healthcare sector businesses can be 100% owned by foreigners.

disillusioned
disillusioned
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr
A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  disillusioned

Very up to date… It’s implementation has been delayed 18 month.. At least

disillusioned
disillusioned
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Stop the presses, something got delayed in Qatar!

The point is that your suggestion is nothing new. Single payer health insurance is a hallmark of developed societies everywhere (with the notable exception of the USA). Hopefully it comes through eventually.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Good suggestion. Helps to decongest HMC. Only true emergencies should be accepted. Expats should be fully covered by health insurance paid for by the employers/companies.. Far too long employers reap benefits of workers and expect HMC to serve the sick while they disown the cost of illness of employees.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat77

What is a real emergency? Even though they ask you at the entrance, I haven’t seen anyone being turned away when we went there. Not everyone is covered by private health insurance, I for one had to pay for it myself as am under my husband’s sponsorship. Am not so sure how it is with the law, I think they did change it that private health insurance is required for companies of certain size, but then again I heard about a lot just being given the Hamad health card …

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

the way the system has been working in the last year and half/2 does not work in fact. You have to wait for month for any little thing….

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Only one month? You’re joking…

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

More stadiums, museums, useless conferences v.s. Schools and hospitals!

Someone has put the nation’s priorities on track.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Qatar should bring more people on single status abs put them on rotation. It would solve a lot of these health care problems overnight.

Also if people want to bring their aged parents they should show full medical insurance when applying for the visa so stop health tourism from mainly Asian countries.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You have to provide private health insurance for your aged parents if you wanna bring them in. Plus at the age of 60 they actually would have to leave again as getting a visa or RP is rather difficult for some nationalities (we have been in this situation, and did take all precautions re health insurance).

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Why bother treating kids if they’re not even made to wear seatbelts?

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