Lack of speciality hospitals forcing Emiratis to travel abroad

Abu Dhabi: Members of the Federal National Council expressed concern at the lack of specialised and accredited hospitals which forces Emiratis to travel abroad for treatment.

They also blamed ineffective health awareness campaigns for the 19.3 per cent increase in the prevalence of diabetes, obesity, heart and brain strokes in 2015. The members were discussing the policy of the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

Emiratis are eligible for government-funded treatment abroad if they cannot be treated in the UAE.

was the 2017 budget for developing the ministry’s hospitals

However, Salem Obaid Al Shamsi, a member from Sharjah and chairman of the Health and Environment Committee, said of the 17 hospitals affiliated to the Health Ministry, there are only four specialised hospitals.

A report by the FNC’s Health and Environment Committee said the number of patients receiving treatment abroad increases by 10 per cent annually.

The members called for increasing salaries of doctors and technicians. and making it mandatory for hospitals and private clinics to determine the proportion of Emirati human resources before the issuance of licences.

The report pointed out that the budget for the programme of developing the ministry’s hospitals amounted to around Dh675 million last year, but 70 per cent of the hospitals of the ministry did not receive the international accreditation for health services, which adversely affect the quality of performance of hospitals.

Members also cautioned that the ministry failed to develop health care for senior citizens, who accounted for six per cent of the UAE population last year. The number of elderly is expected to increase to 11 per cent in 2032 and 29 per cent in 2050, according to the report.

of the hospitals did not get international accreditation in 2017

Members said despite significant advances over the past decade in emergency medicine, there is still a lack of training opportunities and not enough medics interested in the field.

They argued that the focus needs to be put on training and on developing the emergency department and that the design and the equipment in the emergency department also need more attention.

The report revealed that the country needs between 300 and 350 new doctors annually to address the problem of shortage of medical staff.

The rate of Emiratisation in the ministry reached 36 per cent and administrative staff 70 per cent and technical staff 10 per cent, and the salary of a general practitioner in the ministry is Dh24,395, while it is Dh40,000 in some local government hospitals. According to the report, the number of Emirati nursing staff was 315, while the number of foreign nursing staff was 3,169.

The report said the market for specialised therapeutic services is expected to reach Dh71.5 billion in 2020, with a growth rate of 12.7 per cent. In addition, there are only four national doctors specialising in accident and emergency medicine.


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