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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Sidra’s Qatar staff told to expect more delays before hospital opens

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Sidra
Sidra

After repeated delays, it’s possible that Qatar’s highly anticipated Sidra Medical and Research Center won’t begin conducting inpatient procedures for another three years, a senior board member has said.

Speaking at a staff town hall meeting earlier this month, Lord Darzi – who is also a board member at Qatar’s Supreme Council for Health – speculated that construction of the hospital would take another two years, two people who attended the meeting said.

Sidra
Sidra

Commissioning of the building – billed as “an ultramodern academic medical center” dedicated to the care of women and children – could take another year, he added.

The schedule was not a concrete timeline, the attendees told Doha News, but rather an estimate.

Nevertheless, the revised expectations come as a disappointment to many, as the hospital has suffered from repeated delays and is already four years behind schedule.

In a sign of progress, however, Darzi apparently said he hoped construction on Sidra’s outpatient clinic would be completed this year and open sometime next year.

Both Sidra and Qatar Foundation (QF) – which is funding Sidra with an endowment of $7.9 billion – refused to discuss Darzi’s comments with Doha News or speculate when the hospital might open.

“We are evaluating a range of options to ensure the successful delivery of the hospital as soon as clinically feasible and safe to do so,” the organizations told Doha News in identical statements.

Delays

Located near Education City, next to the Qatar National Convention Center, Sidra is expected to handle the delivery of 10,000 babies annually, offer specialized pediatrics, obstetrics and reproductive medicine services and contain nearly 400 patient beds.

Sidra Hospital
Sidra Hospital

Its opening is hoped to relieve some of the pressure at other hospitals, many of which are undergoing or scheduled for an expansion as Qatar’s lead health care provider, Hamad Medical Corp., races to keep up with the country’s rapidly growing population.

After missing scheduled completion dates in 2011 and 2012, Sidra officials said they wanted the hospital fully operational by 2015.

Apart from a 2013 fire in the underground car park, the reasons for the ongoing delays are not clear.

Last year, QF suddenly sacked Sidra’s lead construction contractors, OHL International and Contrack International, which had been working on the project since 2008. They were replaced by two new contractors, Midmac and Consolidated Contractors Group.

While neither Sidra or QF publicly explained why the firms had been terminated, a notification of a lawsuit filed by OHL said QF is claiming the project was late and the contractors missed deadlines.

OHL countered it the project was 95 percent when its contract was terminated and that it was scheduled to turn the site over to QF by March 2015.

Recruitment

Hundreds of people have already been hired to work at Sidra, which appears to still be actively searching for staff, with dozens of open positions for researchers, physicians and other professionals advertised on its careers page.

In its statement to Doha News, Sidra addressed the issue of medical staff and researchers who have already been brought to Qatar:

“Sidra’s priority is to use the talent and skills of its staff to deliver world class healthcare to the people of Qatar. That is why more than 100 clinical staff are already working with our partners, including Hamad Medical Corporation … Sidra researchers are also actively involved in groundbreaking research related to breast cancer immunotherapy and genomic sequencing.”

However, some Sidra employees have told Doha News that their contracts are not being renewed and that they’re being forced to look for work elsewhere.

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

Meanwhile, others who have yet to move to Qatar have complained of their jobs being put “on hold” after being offered positions and submitting licensing information and other paperwork.

“It is very frustrating for all of us who have been waiting,” one person posted on one of several threads about Sidra in an online expat forum.

Another said that accepting a position with Sidra involves “putting your life on hold (for) a bit” as without a firm start date, would-be Sidra staff are unsure if they should enroll in professional courses, renew leases on their flat in their home country or pursue other career opportunities lest they be suddenly told to move to Qatar.

While several people report being told by recruiters that Sidra was gearing up for a 2016 opening, others noted that this was just a guess and that recruiters refused to rule out that it could be several more years before the hospital accepts its first patient.

Thoughts?

54 COMMENTS

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Cerebus
Cerebus
5 years ago

Must be some severe structural issues to have a delay of 2 years. This seems to be par for the course in Qatar. So then it should be open in time for 2020, based on previous estimates.

Phoe
Phoe
5 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

I doubt it’s a structural issue, I think it’s more related to managing such a big project and integrating all the separate parts and technologies into one system.

whitesox
whitesox
5 years ago

i guess the fault can be blamed on the contractors since they breached there contract,sidra can also recoup some costs lost from the contractors.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Having worked on a major new hospital project I can tell you that the blame will undoubtedly be shared between the Client and the Contractor. One of the major problems with hospitals is that they take many years to design and to build – typically well over a decade – and during that time medical science advances resulting in many changes both in the planning and construction phases, including having to accommodated entirely new departments, new technology, new methods of operation that impact on the building etc. Add to that changes in the Client organisation and rethinks on strategy and they end up as a logistical nightmare. You sack the contractors but typically many of the site management staff and the workers are taken over by the new contractor, so it’s not quite a new broom that will magically sweep everything clean..

andrew hall
andrew hall
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Having been involved in this one back in 2010-2011 I can tell you you’re not far off but contractor did not help itself with some poor management and very corrupt practices.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  andrew hall

Which frankly are par for the course in Qatar, added to which is the combative nature of the Client/contractor relationship here which results from many reasons including one-sided contracts, impossible timescales, and the Clients often unfathomable withholding of interim payments. Construction in Qatar is almost like the perfect storm.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  andrew hall

… all to be expected where you always buy the cheapest price and screw the contractor – instead of agreeing a price for the job with the right margins. As the saying goes “Qatar deserves the best”, yet neither has the advice, management or culture to achieve it

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

Or willingness to listen.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

I think at some point someone needs to decide whether this project is still worth wasting money on and whether it is not better to stop it where it is now and to forget about those ambitious plans of a “modern world-class biggest highest tallest first research centre bla bla in Qatar”. It is possible that with limited rearrangements it can be used now as a normal hospital. That is more than enough for the current needs of Qatar.

Chilidog
Chilidog
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Despite missing the ever important “most sparkly,” I think you hit the nail on the head.

Claire Nathan
Claire Nathan
5 years ago

Considering the huge salaries being given to even low grade staff, to be feasible they have perform a restructuring are work with minimal staff and overheads.

Doc
Doc
5 years ago
Reply to  Claire Nathan

I think that has already started? Seems to be people leaving from there

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Doc

People leaving from everywhere it seems.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Most leaving on their own though, especially those who spent 3, 4 or 5 years without a pay rise. The only ones being fired are the QP guys.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Yep, and many seemingly with a strong sense of frustration at not being able to accomplish what they were hired for, projects delayed and cocked-up, etc.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Well, that’s great to hear. VERY few of the expats are here because of the countries need them. Most of them are easily replaceable with little significance to the country and its people.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

That may or may not be true, but and what’s your point? Unfortunately, Qatar has created itself quite the international ‘brand’ as it were, and getting the people who are of significance has become quite difficult, so yes, the loss is an issue.

gladtobeouttathere
gladtobeouttathere
5 years ago

It really is a joke. I moved to Qatar in 2013 having been told the hospital was opening that October. I left my home my job and my family for lies. Thank goodness I saw the light and returned home at the end of last year. I wasted way too much of my life on Sidra and am so glad i am not still stuck waiting. There is no way anyone can be a clinical expert at the peak of their practice after years of sitting in a tower block.

@[0000:]
@[0000:]
5 years ago

I am glad that you are out, I hope the rest of those who don’t like it here take your path. Good luck to you where ever you are.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  @[0000:]

It’s OK. We know that it takes a day or two to get used to fasting again. You’re bound to be grouchy just now. We understand.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  @[0000:]

I think perhaps you miss the point. If you had cancer would you want your oncologist to have spent 5 years behind a desk waiting to treat patients or 5 years full time treating patients? Would you prefer that your surgeon hasn’t operated full time on patients for 5 years? Or an OB/GYN who hadn’t worked full time in a maternity ward since 2012?

And if you were a medical professional who has spent 10 years at college and many years since engaging in professional development and further advanced specialised training would you be content to throw away all those years and money spent in your education so that you can sit in an office for a few years wondering when you will see a patient?

The people you ought to be wishing good luck to will be the first cohort of patients who are admitted to Sidra because there are some very concerning questions arising about the quality of care they ought to expect.

KK
KK
5 years ago
Reply to  @[0000:]

I will be glad the day that you need treatment and nobody is available to help you.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

Wow, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed. Get pacifier, have mommy change your diaper, and then it will all be okay.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  KK

Deleting for attack.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  @[0000:]

At least they have options, sadly, you don’t and are stuck in Qatar. Enjoy!

Jen
Jen
5 years ago
Reply to  @[0000:]

I agree with you. ( unless u were just being sarcastic). Clinicians can lose their skills and in Qatar,as in other countries, clinicians have to be current in practice. I think it,s good that Glad to be outta here left-hopefully will return in 3yrs with current medical knowledge and practice to rejoin when Sidra opens. Else Sidra needs a scheme to ensure that clinicians from all disciplines can be registered to practice with the supreme council of health( can only register if practise has been within the last 2yrs).

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  @[0000:]

Hello ‘Love It Or Leave It’! Great to see you back!

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
5 years ago

To add to your point even more; all Sidra’s staff were supposed to have been hired and ready in 2010, and operation to start in 2011! This was back in 2009!

Simon
Simon
5 years ago

Expect amazing.

Junais Ahmed
Junais Ahmed
5 years ago

they are currently hiring engineers to audit the building; to check whether SIDRA hospital is built as per latest international hospital standards

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Junais Ahmed

And then they will hire a consultancy to audit the work of the engineers…

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

And then ‘top management’ will ignore all the advice and recommendations, because they know best!

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Simon

And that’s how we end up with 5 years delay and an average product at the end.

greylag
greylag
5 years ago
Reply to  Junais Ahmed

And then Health and Safety checks will delay another couple of years.

SLICK
SLICK
5 years ago

‘Hmmm…I think I’d like a New Window over there where that Electrical Panel is on the Wall’ Not a problem, that’ll be another cool $1 million and another year onto the contract.

DEEM
DEEM
5 years ago
Reply to  SLICK

Slick, that pretty much sums it up right there. I was on the Sidra IT project for over two years. There are several areas of concern, but the two that stand out, are that there is no strength of leadership. No one will stand up and stake their reputation on a decision. As a result, even some of the most fundemental elements of providing healthcare – like writing policys and procedures – reamin in draft after 6 years in preparation. The knock on effect is, those that are contracted to deliver…. what ever, te building… equipment… services…. technology even healthcare, we need to “meet the requirement”…. how do we do that if the requirement is unclear, ambiguous and subject to change. Sidra need strong leadership, and clear decision making – for good or ill. I can tell you for a fact, that some years ago, Sidra conducted a symposium on decision making skills and policy…. the out come was, they couldn’t reach a decision, on how to make a decision… I kid you not.
Thankfully I have anew job, here in Qatar, with another healthcare provider.

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
5 years ago

It is funny how low life, low ranked expats who can barely do there is measly job talking big about a project with this magnitude. Who are you foolin buddy.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Low-life? Low-rank? I would imagine that all of us on here are civilians here, so why talk of rank, it has no meaning. I’ve met very few indig project engineers, so it is certainly possible that people are in the know about such projects.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Actually some of us have actually been involved with major hospital projects so some of us feel empowered to comment. It’s not all bs, and neither is it all criticism. I’d like to think that it was education but given that every major project in Qatar fails on just about every financial and programme target obviously nobody takes a bit of notice.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

As perfectly illustrated by Ib Ali (and others), they don’t want to listen, they already know everything, so how can they possibly have anything to learn, and if you make constructive comments then you get this petty abuse. Sick, really.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

Building a world class hospital takes time. Time to build both the structure and the Medical staff.

But this is bs! Just bs, no matter who is at fault… A five year delay with end at sight is bs..

At least give the staff employment opportunity at other local hospitals in sure the other hospitals can use their expertise … They can’t be worest than the low paid know nothing Indian and Egyptian doctors we have right now

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Then why do the hospitals recruit them? I don’t understand.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Honestly I think it’s because sidra pays on QF pay scale and govt hospitals are on govt dr pay which literally could be four or five folds different..

Govt hospitals would rather pay a freshie from India than a real decent dr coz they’re cheaper.. This is why all good Drs in Hamad leave and open private clinics

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Many of the Sidra doctors are currently working at HMC and Aspetar. Deleting your comment though for stereotyping.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

really? who did i stereotype against? you’re joking right?

HMC pays very little to doctors leaving HMC with under-qualified egyptian and indian doctors, while all the good doctors have moved to the private medical sector mostly opening their own private clinics… what’s the steretype? I’m sure they’re are good egyptian and indian doctors, just not at HMC, as the pay is to low to attract them…

shall i flag each comment i feel is stereotyping for you to delete… or is it just my comments ?

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

did you check their qualifications A_qtr?

MrJames
MrJames
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Shabina believes it’s ‘her ball, her rules’….

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago

Sidra has become the new airport.

Disappointed
Disappointed
5 years ago

So much potential with a great vision from Skeikha Mozah to meet the needs of women and kids in the region. So much hubris that humans being are commodities that can be purchased for a price – you can buy your labor force but you cannot force your labor to be mission driven. So many leaders that remain incompetent and drove too many to put their careers at risk. Anticipate that FIFA 2022 will follow a similar fate

Edward
Edward
5 years ago

Typical Qatar project. The governance procedures will require that a senior Qatari (in many cases, Sheikha Moza herself) sign off on everything, but the people with authority to do so don’t have the experience, engineering or project management skill, or sense of urgency — and will never be held accountable.

It’s always just “sue the contractor” even though in most cases delays are caused by lack of decision making and governance in general on the part of the client. QF procurement procedures are so inefficient and irrational (with a healthy dose of corruption), e.g., insisting on fixed-price agreements even with only half-baked scopes. Contractors are partially to blame, but they just shrug their shoulders and accept the work because they correctly figure that there will always be legitimate excuses for delays and overruns.

vini
vini
5 years ago

I was involved in this project from 2009 March to 2015 July. It was a design and built project. The initial issue included changing the design subcontractor according to client’s requirement, client not confirming the required design details on time, client’s instructions for changes in designs, inexperienced Consultant and program managers ( with design and built. Projects), lack of clear vision for the contractor’s JV, authoritative management / centralised management practice of JV partner (contractor), lack of proper management system to run a mega project of this scale, Qatar ‘s very own logistics and material issues, lack of proper and skilled subcontractors, inablility of client or PMC to comprehend the construction issues. Design is done in such a way that partial commissioning of the facility cannot be done, Ultimately I would say : to make a baby we need 10months, if we increase the resources (men or ladies) it cannot be make faster …… They failed to understand this.

Joe
Joe
5 years ago

Delayed projects has become a niche of this country!
I must say, though, this country seems to attract the worst performers in every field along with opportunists, con artists, crooks etc… Maybe it’s the system or maybe it’s the unqualified decision makers.
Decent people just can’t bare working under the current marshmallow type of dodgy systems.

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago

$ 8 Billion? seriously? but it’s 4 years late & another 3 year delay is projected.
This seems to be an incredibly inflated price tag. At these cost’s and delays people ought to have been sacked, from the top.. Where does the buck stop?

vini
vini
5 years ago

I was involved in this project from 2009 March to 2015 July. It was a design and built project. The initial issue included changing the design subcontractor according to client’s requirement, client not confirming the required design details on time, client’s instructions for changes in designs, inexperienced Consultant and program managers ( with design and built. Projects), lack of clear vision for the contractor’s JV, authoritative management / centralised management practice of JV partner (contractor), lack of proper management system to run a mega project of this scale, Qatar ‘s very own logistics and material issues, lack of proper and skilled subcontractors, inablility of client or PMC to comprehend the construction issues. Design is done in such a way that partial commissioning of the facility cannot be done, Ultimately I would say : to make a baby we need 10months, if we increase the resources (men or ladies) it cannot be make faster …… They failed to understand this.

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