H.E. Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari stressed Monday that the health system in the State of Qatar is always focused on providing quality services according to international standards to meet the aspirations of the people of the country, in line with the renaissance of Qatar and its resulting population increase.
Her Excellency announced, during an address delivered to the Shura Council on the health sector, a number of project that will contribute to further development of the health system. The projects include the construction of a number of new specialized hospitals, both in the public or private health sector, in addition to the creation of new services that will further improve the health system, which was ranked fifth globally according to international reports.
H.E. the Minister of Public Health stressed that the health sector enjoys great support from H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in order to develop a comprehensive system with high-quality services that improves the health of the Qatari society.
During the hearing, HE the minister discussed the health sector in Qatar and future plans to develop it. Her Excellency also discussed the new services that are set to be provided, in addition to the efforts made to increase capacities in hospitals.
In response to some of the queries of members of the council on the delay of medical appointments, she said that the number of patients who visited Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) last year was 1.7 million. Her Excellency noted that the addition of specialized services in primary healthcare units will help reduce the load on Hamad, which will in turn lead to less waiting times. Her Excellency also noted the fact that many of HMC's services have become faster than in the past, such as day care services, which are only a one week wait, which is down from several months.
H.E. the Minister of Public Health also announced that the draft law on the new health insurance system will soon be presented to the Shura Council. A committee composed of the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the state Audit Bureau are examining the tender for health insurance, after determining the drawbacks of the previous system.
She also revealed that there is work being done to make it compulsory for Qatar's visitors to have health insurance. Work on the project is currently being implemented in cooperation between the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs. It will contribute to reducing the pressure on health services provided by the public sector, particularly the Emergency.
In the course of the last three months, the minister said that the number of beds in hospitals increased by 200 beds. That is in addition to the 1200 new beds added during the period from 2016 to 2018 after the opening of eight new hospitals.
Her Excellency added that Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital will play a role as well in expanding the health services and easing the load on other hospitals, particularly Hamad. HE the Minister noted that the Mebaireek hospital is operating at 30 percent of its potential.
H.E. the minister stressed that the private sector also plays a major role in strengthening the health system in Qatar. There are also plans to increase the number of beds in the private sector by 25 percent, while there is also a thought to convert dental services for residents who currently hold health insurance to the private sector to Reduce the pressure on public dental clinics, which has seen a major developments in terms of expanding its services.
In response to the prevalence of cancer in the State of Qatar, H.E. the Minister of Public Health confirmed that the prevalence rates of the disease in the country are in the normal range, noting that the medical services provided to cancer patients are very sophisticated, especially in the field of diagnosis and treatment. Her Excellency said that it takes 48 hours to refer those suspected of having cancer, which is far less than many developed countries who take up to a week. It also takes less than a week to begin treatment once the disease is confirmed.
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