x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Minister promises 24-hour hospital

Delayed Fujairah centre to be open around the clock by summer, FNC told

ABU DHABI // A new hospital in Fujairah should finally be open 24 hours a day by the end of June, the Minister of Health has told FNC members.

In response to a plea from a member, Rashed Al Shuraiqi of Ras Al Khaimah, at Tuesday's session Abdul Rahman Al Owais said he would do everything possible to have Masafi Hospital open around the clock by summer.

The Dh50 million hospital was initially due to be in full operation next month, but the minister admitted building problems had cost time and money.

"There were engineering problems; there were communication problems between the specialist and the ministry," Mr Al Owais said. "We are still suffering from them."

He said the ministry had also been beset by financial difficulties. Problems with the hospital, which included bringing its operating theatres up to the health ministry's standards, had cost millions of dirhams.

For the past fortnight the hospital has been open for 16 hours a day, compared with 13 hours before.

"Hopefully now we are heading in the right direction," Mr Al Owais said, adding that the safety of patients was of the "utmost priority".

But Mr Al Shuraiqi said he wanted even quicker progress.

"There are 10,000 residents in Masafi and surrounding areas," he said.

"In reality, right now only 50 per cent of the hospital is working. The emergency department is still not fully functioning."

Mr Al Shuraiqi said that residents were still being forced to travel long distances for health care.

"This means a lot of accidents as well," he said. "In 2011, Masafi had the third-highest number of accidents in the country."

Mr Al Shuraiqi said residents had lost hope of having a fully functioning hospital in their area after years of delays.

"An old hospital in the area was demolished in the late 1970s and for 30 years residents have been waiting for a new one," he said.

The minister replied: "Hathreen [as you wish]."

The hospital, built under the orders of Sheikh Khalifa, the President, has been partly open since June 2010.

osalem@thenational.ae