With reporting from Lesley Walker
As Qatar races to construct more medical facilities for its rapidly growing population, the country’s public works authority has said it’s planning a new 250-bed hospital near Qatar University.
Earlier this week, Ashghal asked contractors to formally indicate their interest in bidding on the project.
According to its notice, the new hospital will provide secondary and tertiary care in addition to several medical services, including pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, general surgery, cardiology, bariatric surgery, orthopedics and long-term care.
The main four-story building will contain 61,000 square meters of space, while an adjacent four-floor ancillary structure will be used for parking and non-clinical support services.
Construction work is expected to start by March 2016.
It’s not clear whether the facility will be government-run or privately operated and its completion date also remains to be seen.
There are also questions about whether it is part of plans to construct a 1,100-bed mass casualty trauma hospital in the same area.
Construction on that facility was supposed to start early this year and expected to be complete by 2022, one year later than originally scheduled.
Health care expansion
The new hospitals near QU are two of the latest facilities to be announced as the Qatar works to increase its health care services.
In March, Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) announced a 15-year plan to double the number of hospital beds and operating theaters by the year 2030 by redeveloping HMC’s current central Doha sites into a single integrated complex, linked across C-Ring Road by a pedestrian bridge.
However, health care officials and construction contractors have been criticized for not moving fast enough.
In January, meanwhile, Qatar’s prime minister ordered a handful of new hospitals within the under-construction Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City to be finished and fully equipped by mid-2015.
However, health care officials have indicated that this deadline will not be met, saying that the women’s hospital and ambulatory hospital are not expected to be operational until around mid-2016.
As construction continues, medical officials say the current system is strained but that patients are still being treated in a timely fashion.
Last fall, HMC medical director Dr. Yusuf Al Maslamani said the main hospital’s emergency department handles 1,500 to 2,000 cases daily.
“(This) places a great pressure on our services,” he said, according to the Gulf Times.
Al Maslamani said he’d like to see more cases involving minor injuries or chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes treated at clinics rather than emergency rooms in order to free up more resources.