The number of appointments made for patients to see doctors has increased by 150% over the last two weeks.
A decentralised system has been established to speed up appointments at multiple hospitals run by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), according to the deputy quality head for the Center for Patient Experience and Staff Engagement.
“Each hospital now has its own team for referrals and booking appointments, instead of the earlier centralised facility, and the decentralisation has improved communication with doctors, executives of outpatient clinics and also hospital administration,” Nasser Al Naimi told Qatar TV Sunday.
The percentage of appointments that are scheduled within a week has climbed to 118% during the last four months. In the past two weeks, there has been a 150% rise in the number of appointments scheduled for patients to see a doctor.
“Subsequently, we received directives from HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to speed up the mechanism for organising appointments, especially for citizens and residents,” Al Naimi, also the director of Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute said.
After the Ramadan break, the plan underwent its execution in stages, including launching evening clinics, under the directives of Qatar’s Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, he noted.
“There are 481 clinics in the Ambulatory Care Center with a capacity to serve about 10,000 patients within 90 days. Today, the second phase was launched, and a week later, in the Orthopedic Center with 20 clinics,” Al Naimi detailed.
Separately, the evening clinics that launched in late April will cater to high-demand specialties such as ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat, urology, and audiology and is designed to provide faster access to specialised care for patients by adding more specialties in the coming weeks.
At the time, Al Naimi said more than 10,000 patients are expected to benefit from the new evening clinics.
The clinics will run for three months, with 481 evening clinics scheduled to provide services to patients whose appointments have been expedited.
Al Naimi also said an advanced methodology was applied to the system of managing referrals and booking appointments to reduce waiting times for appointments and improve the use of clinics in all facilities of Hamad Medical Corporation.
However, he urged patients to use the helpline 16060 for customer service “Nesma’ak” to manage their upcoming appointments at HMC facilities.
The latest developments come just weeks after Qatar’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani vowed improvements in the healthcare system.
Commenting on shortcomings in the health sector during his first live television interview as prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed said while there is scope for improvement, Qatar does strive to provide “the best possible services” across its hospitals.
“During Covid, the health sector proved its steadfastness and achieved what countries with prestigious institutions could not, including hospitals that have been there for more than 100 years,” he said.
The Qatari diplomat admitted that there are challenges which Qatar does not deny.
“We spoke with the Ministry of Health to improve the level of services […] and the results will show during the coming period,” he explained, adding that the “difference will be seen soon.”