CW 2015 UAE Infra Conf: Healing Hands

Dubai needs more trained medical staff to go alongside its top-of-the-range healthcare facilities

McKenzie: Dubai 'clued up' on global standards.
McKenzie: Dubai 'clued up' on global standards.

The Government of Dubai should focus on providing ongoing training for healthcare professionals if it is to become a leading provider of medical facilities.

That was the view expressed by Ala Hason, vice-president of HKS Architects, on a panel about healthcare infrastructure.
“Dubai needs to understand what it means to be the best hospital in the world. If you look at the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in the US – all those hospitals have ongoing training for all layers of staff,” said Hason.

“So I’m saying the Dubai government should focus on the healthcare requirements and inspection, and allow
the private sector to really have that ongoing training.”

Hason added that the emirate needs to focus on strengthening the regulation of facilities from the design phase right through to operations.

“Look at what other countries are doing. Look at the British system. There’s codes for design [of] hospitals. We don’t have codes for designing hospitals here, but luckily clients are using the US and British codes in designing hospitals,” he said.

“When it comes to building, we’re doing it. I’m not sure that’s happening on the operations side.”

Carl McKenzie, director of building engineering healthcare at Aecom, said there exists the expertise in the region when it comes to the design and construction of hospitals, but agreed with Hason that there is an issue with regards to skilled staff and the operation of buildings.

He was responding to moderator Wael Allan, CEO, Middle East, Arcadis, explaining the story of how a hospital in Saudi Arabia was recently closed down for giving a patient nitrogen instead of oxygen.

“I think that the design side and the construction side is there. It’s the operational side. There needs to be a process of continued professional development in terms of making sure that skills levels are exactly where they need to be,” said McKenzie.

“From what I’m seeing, Dubai is very clued up on what is happening internationally and taking some of the best ideas and making them their own. So they’ll understand that makes the difference from the patient experience and operational side.”

Martin McIntire, Middle East head of healthcare at Arcadis, said there has been an influx of private investors to cater to the medical tourism sector and he expects this to grow.

“Much of this was discussed at the recent Arab Health conference in Dubai, there’s an estimate that medical tourism will be a AED100bn ($27.2bn) business within the next five years,” he said.

“Now Dubai is ranked the 10th most visited city in the world so obviously there’s a great attraction to that and how we can align this tourism to the healthcare side. You see both the government supporting that and the private sector coming into play to try and fill that gap.”

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