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Hospitals 'must cut patient waiting times'

FNC members urge hospital staff to find a way to provide the quickest appointments possible.

AL AIN // FNC members have urged hospitals to cut appointment waiting times.

After visiting the Al Ain and Tawam hospitals, the council's health committee said conditions at both were close to "perfect".

But they did note a worrying trend of delayed appointments.

"What we saw showed success in the health sector," said Sultan Al Sammahi, secretary of the committee. "The quality of doctors and staff were very high. But after speaking to patients, many of them asked us to find a solution to late appointments."

While appreciating that hospitals worldwide faced the same problem, FNC members urged staff to find a way to provide the quickest appointments possible.

Mr Al Sammahi said the matter would be brought to the attention of Seha and Health Authority Abu Dhabi, adding that the delays were caused by a shortage of doctors.

"The number of doctors is too low," he said. "When one doctor retired, the hospital said it would take a year-and-a-half to two years to find a replacement. Doctors have become hard to get and when you find a good one, they usually don't want to leave their country."

Mr Al Sammahi said that because the UAE demands such high standards in its doctors, it was difficult to find medics of this calibre.

But he was pleased with the level of Emiratisation in both hospitals.

"The percentage of UAE nationals was very high," he said. "They are also building a new nursing school, which will resolve the shortage of Emirati nurses."

Today, committee members will visit Furjairah hospital and Saqr hospital in Ras Al Khaimah.

"The visits are to see conditions in reality - to see people, doctors, patients, so that we can evaluate conditions properly," said Salim Al Ameri, the committee chairman. "After that we will meet with Ministry of Health officials and discuss recommendations."



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