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Qatar: Seven hospitals given new opening dates

New opening dates for seven upcoming hospitals in Qatar have been announced by Hamad Medical Corp (HMC)

Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, under construction 2015.
Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, under construction 2015.

By the end of December 2017, there will be more than 1,100 newly-built hospital beds for residents in new facilities across Qatar, Hamad Medical Corp (HMC) said.

Among the projects are three new facilities at Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City, a $659m (QAR2.4bn) medical complex on a 227,000m² site in Rumaila in central Doha: a women’s wellness and research centre; an ambulatory care centre; and the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute.

This comes as a wider strategy to boost state healthcare services, which have increasingly come under strain as the population continues to grow.

In a statement, Hamad Al Khalifa, HMC’s chief of Healthcare Facilities, said: “These new hospitals and facilities will revolutionize healthcare delivery in Qatar by increasing bed capacity and giving our patients faster access to specialized care where and when they need it.”

He added that once the projects come online, hospitals that are currently operating should see more capacity, Doha News reported.

All of the projects, which were due to open last year, miss their launch dates.

No reason was given for the delays in HMC’s statement, and no exact completion date has been provided.

Ashghal’s Hamad Medical City is an project led by Korean-based Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company, and was originally scheduled to be completed by 2014.

In January 2015, Qatar’s prime minister called for the first stage of the complex to be opened to the public by June last year, but that deadline was overshot.

The Women’s Wellness and Research Centre – a 260-bed hospital with a capacity for 15,000 births a year – is scheduled to be among the first hospitals to open inside the complex.

It will have 53 neonatal intensive care cots and 48 “stepdown” cots for infants requiring intermediate care.

HMC previously told Doha News that the new center would replace the existing Women’s Hospital, which currently delivers around 17,000 babies a year.

The new wellness center is expected to make up for the lost capacity by working in conjunction with Sidra Medical and Research Center and other hospitals around Qatar.

While the first clinics in Sidra’s outpatient department opened this week, women cannot yet give birth there and there is no public date for the launch of the main hospital.

Meanwhile, the new Ambulatory Care Center, which HMC said is the first such specialist center in the region, will provide outpatient care and adult day-surgery for a range of elective procedures.

These will be for patients who do not need to stay overnight, but who may need anesthesia, a period of post-procedure observation or both, the healthcare authority said.

Its facilities will include 130 short-stay beds, a suite for radiology, examination, and treatment rooms, in addition to 14 operating theaters, according to previously-issued details for the center.

And the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, which will have 193 beds over 10 floors on the 38,000 sq meter facility, will provide “comprehensive and integrated rehabilitation services for adults and children.”

The centre will offer dedicated services, including physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, prosthetics and orthotics.

There will also be a focus on stroke and traumatic brain injury management, and the hospital will have a hydrotherapy facility.

With 65 beds for the care, treatment, prevention and research of infectious and transmittable diseases such as tuberculosis, flu, MERS and measles, adjacent to the medical city will be a Communicable Diseases Centre.

Three hospitals to care for Qatar’s male, labour workforce are expected to open in Doha’s Industrial Area, Al Khor and Mesiaeed.

The facilities were due to open in 2015, according to the then-Supreme Council of Health’s 2012 Annual Report.

By the end of that year however, the SCH’s director of public health, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, said it would likely be “during 2016, or the beginning of 2017” before they launched.

The new workers’ hospitals should help ease the strain felt particularly by Hamad General Hospital’s emergency department, which is where many of Qatar’s labour force seek treatment.

Many low-paid expats used the ER for minor injuries or to receive treatment for chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, HMC Emergency Department director Dr. Peter Cameron told members of Qatar’s Central Municipal Council in 2014.

He called for more clinics and GP-type surgeries to be built to help alleviate the pressure on the emergency department.

In a 15-year masterplan launched last year, HMC said it would double the number of hospital beds and operating theatres in the country and triple car parking requirements by 2030.

In addition to building and expanding new facilities in central Doha, the plan also includes increasing the capacity of Al Khor and Al Wakrah hospitals to 500 beds each by 2030.

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