Friday, 28 April 2017

Abu Dhabi co-pay waiver will relieve crowded public hospitals, doctors say

ABU DHABI // The scrapping of a scheme in which Emiratis in Abu Dhabi paid 20 per cent of private medical bills will relieve government hospitals hit with an unmanageable influx of patients.
Doctors said that abolishing the co-pay on private treatment for Thiqa insurance cardholders would lead to shorter waiting times and better treatment.
The co-pay, which was announced in June last year, was waived entirely on Wednesday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. It was cancelled in ­January for long-term care patients in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

    A doctor at an Abu Dhabi government hospital said the scheme forced Emirati patients to learn about medical services in government hospitals, but more doctors, nurses and support staff were not hired to deal with the increased number of patients.
    "This made it impossible for us to do our jobs and is why we lost some of our best doctors. It was impossible for us to deal with the increased number of patients and see them in time," the doctor said.

      "It’s unfortunate that we have lost these doctors but I am glad that our wise leadership has responded to our needs."
      Dr Nazura Siddiqi, specialist gynaecologist at Bareen International Hospital, said many patients seeking private-sector care faced thousands of dirhams in bills for treatment and follow-up care.
      She said patients at the private hospital would seek care there during the pregnancy but deliver at government hospitals, which were "burdened with patients".

        "Doctors couldn’t see all the patients so midwives were doing the deliveries, which led to some complications," she said.
        Emirati Huda Al Shamsi described her delivery at a government hospital as a disaster.
        "I didn’t even see the doctor in the delivery room and the midwife was on the computer the whole time typing," Ms Al Shamsi said. "I was screaming in pain and she ignored me.
        "My husband was with me in the room and began shouting for a doctor, but the midwife said the doctor was busy."

          Emirati Amal Al Maamari said she used to be able to get a doctor’s appointment at government centres within a week.
          "After the co-pay it would take no less than two weeks to see a doctor," she said.
          Dr Abdul Razzak Al Kaddour, consultant cardiologist at Al Hosn Medical Centre, said government clinics were overcrowded and patients faced long waiting times after the co-pay scheme started.
          He said doctors would have more time to see patients and provide better services now the scheme was cancelled.

            "The waiver provides the people of the UAE more options for treatment at a much larger number of health care facilities," said Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare, which runs Burjeel Hospital. "A thriving health care industry will benefit the people of the UAE."
            Source: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/abu-dhabi-co-pay-waiver-will-relieve-crowded-public-hospitals-doctors-say

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