All private hospitals in Qatar must be accredited by an internationally-recognised body within the next four years, a senior official said.
The Board of Directors of the Supreme Council of Health has made it compulsory for the private sector to obtain an international accreditation until the National Accreditation Standards (NAS) are available.
SCH Medical Licensing Department director Dr Kamal Khanji said the council would approve the accreditation of all private hospitals in the country.
“We will request all private hospitals to achieve accreditation within the next four years because developing our own standard will be easier when they are all already accredited by recognised bodies internationally such as the International Society for Quality, which is an organisation that accredits the accreditors,” he said.
The programme would help all hospitals in the country to further raise the bar on their standards, he said, adding: “We are very excited about that. Of course it will require a lot of efforts but it will improve the healthcare sector significantly and change the face of health services in the country.”
He said: “We are going to help the private sector by providing them with some publications to guide them to a list of well-known international accreditors. We will guide them step-by-step towards achieving the accreditation, which will position them as an attractive destination for visitors from around the world thus helping Qatar achieve the planned status as the health tourism destination in the region.”
Speaking about the plans to phase out solo clinics run by general practitioners (GP), Dr Khanji said the council was revising its decision by encouraging the GPs to further their career through continuous medical education.
“We are revising the decision by helping the GPs, those without continuous medical education after their bachelors’ degrees, advance in their knowledge. For instance, those that will seek higher certificates and qualifications are being given the chance to do so. Some have scaled through already,” he said.
However, he noted that the whole idea of phasing out such clinics was having a “very positive impact” within the healthcare community. It had also caused a stir in the sector and those lagging behind are seeking to brush up their careers and update themselves.
“Long time back, the GPs were suitable for the country when we had very limited resources and facilities, limited specialised professionals and advanced capabilities, but nowadays, of course, with the development and fast growth in the private sector, we saw the need to improve their capabilities,” Dr Khanji said.
“Although, there was a big debate about the whole idea, many people had different opinions. But we all have the same aim of improving the healthcare in Qatar as well as ensuring the safety of patients. So we completely respect any opinion in that regard,” he said.
There were a total of 32 GP-run clinics in the country, of which 26 are still active, he said.
“Some were closed because unfortunately there were many problems associated with these clinics such as issuing fake sick leaves, which is a serious violation against the law and the ethics of the profession. Such conduct betrays the trust and the nobility of the medical profession,” Dr Khanji said.
Some others were closed down for violations that occurred due to the GPs’ lack of knowledge or experience, he said. “So this is the kind of mishap we are trying to prevent.”
However, the official said that nearly 100 new health facilities were licensed last year and of the total 1,700 applicants who sat the qualifying examinations, up to 800 new practitioners were licensed in 2009-2010.
Follow us on our social media channels: