5 year National Primary Healthcare Strategy launched

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A five-year National Primary Healthcare Strategy launched yesterday will address future health challenges by improving quality of care, with the focus on introducing an effective appointment system for patients.

‘Building the Foundation,’ National Primary Healthcare Strategy 2013-2018 aims to introduce an average consulting time of 12 minutes, giving enough time to the patient and the clinician in their first meeting.

A 2005 audit found the average consultation time was between 4.7 and 8.1 minutes and the new strategy aims at increasing the time by 2017.

In addition, when patients book online, they will be able to specify Arabic or English as their preferred language for consultation.

“The national strategy aims to improve the quality of care for patients, minimise waiting times, reduce referral time and, alongside that, introduce an effective appointment system. This will ensure not only greater efficiency but also greater attention for patients’ individual needs,” said Minister of Health and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Health, H E Abdulla bin Khalid Al Qahtani, addressing an event held to launch the strategy, at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

The new appointment system is one of the 10 pledges made by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), among them is the commitment to publishing annual reports showing how they are assessing and meeting patients’ needs and striving to provide continuity of care by ensuring that all patients have a doctor they can see on a regular basis.

The strategy also outlines eight improvement goals such as health promotion, screening for chronic diseases, providing urgent care, proper follow-up on patients with chronic diseases, home care service, special care for mental health, maternal and newborn healthcare and partnership between primary healthcare providers and schools to make comprehensive and preventive healthcare accessible to all children.

There are few services for homebound patients in the country, but by next year such patients will benefit from a dedicated home care service staffed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors.

The National Primary Healthcare Strategy also aims to introduce an effective system to receive patients and electronically document their medical records.

Dr Mariam Ali Abdulmalik, Managing Director of Primary Health Care Corporation, highlighted that this strategy sought to make a difference to people’s health and their lives.

“This gives and an opportunity to make a real difference in the healthcare of the nation,” she said.

“A new concept of welcome service for patients will be introduced at the Al Rayyan Primary Healthcare Centre. The receptionist will question and direct them correctly to receive treatment smoothly,” Dr Abdulmalik added.

Source : Qatar Chronicle