A Doha News report published earlier this month highlighted months-long delays for patients in need of a rapid medical response.
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has announced “system changes” to better serve patients booking appointments across its entities following complaints by patients over months-long delays and lack of appointments.
Announced on Saturday, the changes entail the establishment of “new referral management sections in each of HMC hospitals under the control of appointment management teams”.
HMC also said it aims to launch evening clinics at the Ambulatory Care Center for the Ophthalmology, Ear, Nose and Throat, Urology and Audiology clinics.
“Highly experienced staff have been selected to work in these sections. This means that hospitals have more control of booking appointments for their patients and helps to avoid unnecessary delays,” HMC said on Twitter.
Nasser Al Naimi, Deputy Chief of Quality for Center for Patient Experience and Staff Engagement and Director of Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute, noted that the project was initially launched in March 2022.
The latest announcement comes shortly after a Doha News report published earlier this month that shed light on complaints by patients, some of whom said they were forced to wait at least a year to secure an appointment with a doctor.
According to the recent DN poll, almost 40% of people who took part in the survey said they had to wait for more than six months to get an appointment at HMC or Public Health Care Corporation facilities.
Responding to a question on whether they were made to wait for an appointment despite having a medical emergency, 73% said they could not get a time slot to see a doctor at a public facility in Qatar, though 27% disagreed.
HMC said the new system was established following “a comprehensive review of the end-to-end booking process to identify and resolve issues with respect to referral, e-triage, in-calling, and appointment booking processes.”
Al Naimi said the changes will be implemented at different stages, the first of which will cover seven HMC hospitals.
The entities include: Ambulatory Care Center; Hamad General Hospital; Al Wakra Hospital; Al Khor Hospital; Qatar Rehabilitation Institute; National Center for Cancer Care and Research; Women’s Wellness and Research Center; and the Bone and Joint Center and Hamad Dental Center.
“The project will be carried out in the remaining hospitals this year as we successfully continue to make significant changes to improve patient care,” Al Naimi said.
The HMC official added “appointment waiting list issues for Qatari patients is no longer existing in any of the mentioned facilities.”
“Once we launch the evening clinics, we will add this service to the Nesma’ak 16060 hotline[…]The 16060 Nesma’ak Customer Service helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Al Naimi added.
According to the HMC official, the Nesma’ak teams received more than 971,000 calls from patients in 2022.