x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai health centres scrap appointments system in family medicine clinics

A first-come, first-serve walk-in service will go in its place during the three-month trial period.

DUBAI // Primary healthcare centres will stop offering appointments for family medicine from Wednesday, when the system is abolished in favour of a walk-in service.

The decision will affect all 14 health centres run by the Dubai Health Authority and aims to cut time wasted by patients phoning last minute to cancel appointments or not showing up, said Dr Ahmad Al Kalban, chief executive of primary health care at the authority.

It is hoped the walk-in service will also reduce waiting times.

The decision was primarily made to "encourage patients to visit family medicine specialists and to consider them their first point of contact", Dr Al Kalban said.

"In addition, the new system will help reduce waiting time as well as provide easy access to primary healthcare services."

The move comes after Essa Al Maidoor, director general of the authority, inspected health centres and asked medical practitioners and patients for their thoughts. He found a need to enhance access to primary healthcare services, particularly with family medicine.

The new system will be evaluated in three months. For specialised services such as ophthalmology, dermatology, child health, gynaecology, maternity and geriatric care, the appointment system will continue.

jbell@thenational.ae