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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

New skin bank to be created as part of Rashid Hospital expansion 

Plans to include a larger trauma ward, cardiac centre and mental health facilities

CEO of the recently established Dubai Healthcare Corporation, Dr Younis Kazim said Rashid Hospital expansion plans were an opportunity to deliver world class healthcare. Courtesy: DHA
CEO of the recently established Dubai Healthcare Corporation, Dr Younis Kazim said Rashid Hospital expansion plans were an opportunity to deliver world class healthcare. Courtesy: DHA

Burns victims in Dubai are set to benefit from a new skin bank which will store excess skin surgically removed from obese patients.

The facility in the emirate is expected to open next year as part of an extensive, two-year expansion plan for Rashid Hospital.

Improvements to health care services in the city are being driven by the new Dubai Healthcare Corporation (DHC) which seeks to boost collaboration between private and public healthcare sectors.

Dr Younis Kazim, CEO of DHC, said the expansion plans were a further opportunity to deliver world class healthcare, preventing patients feeling the need to go abroad for treatment.

“The skin bank has been initiated by the plastic surgery department at Rashid Hospital,” said Dr Kazim.

“It has not been explored as a wider facility before. Because of Sharia Law, there have been sensitivities to consider in the past.

“We have had no objection from the religious bodies in the UAE and so can continue with the development. We want a fully operational skin bank for patients by mid-2019.

“The skin will be taken from foreigners and nationals here in the UAE and used for other sick people who may need a skin graft.

“These could be burns victims or recovering cancer patients who have had surgery.”

Rashid Hospital already boasts one of the region’s best emergency and trauma centres, and has close to 800 beds.

Since 1973, it has undergone several expansions and now includes intensive care units, operating theatres and clinical support wards.

Together with the new skin bank, hospital executives also aim to establish a new cancer treatment centre and an expanded cardiology unit.

Other efforts will focus on reducing hospital waiting times, in part by tackling patients who have repeatedly missed appointments.

Better support for those suffering from mental health problems has also been promised, along with a new minimum stay of six months for some seconded medics to improve the continuity of patient care.

“We will be monitoring services and operational performance, like other healthcare businesses operating in Dubai,” said Dr Kazim.

“There will be a clearer marker for performance that can be checked alongside other international standards, with a much stronger role for the private sector.

“We do not want people here to feel they have to go abroad for their treatment. There will be better use of visiting doctors who are specialists in their field of expertise.

“The standard programme at the moment is for just one week, but we want longer than that.

“We would like to see a minimum stay of six months in some specialty surgeries, so a patient’s recovery can be monitored.”

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Skin tissue banks have existed since the 1930s, with a number of facilities now operating in America and Europe.

Demand for donor skin grafts to manage severe burns, trauma and soft tissue injuries has increased as the technology behind the procedure has progressed.

Today, skin grafted from consenting patients can be preserved at very low temperatures for up to several weeks before being transplanted. Under sterile conditions, the tissue is placed in a saline solution before being frozen.

When finished, the expanded Rashid Hospital may be renamed to become Rashid Medical City.

Although exact figures on eventual size, job creation and investment were not revealed, improved facilities should be completed by 2020.

Dr Kazim said that despite the modernising plans - including a smart pharmacy where patients can access prescriptions remotely and securely – the human touch would remain central to patient care.

“It is important we look at not just a patient’s hospital care, but also how they are looked after when they go home,” he said. “That will mean better support for their mental health.

“Some people having major surgery or treatment can no longer communicate with their family and find it hard to deal with mentally, even attempting suicide because they are so traumatised.

“So there will be better psychological support for patients who need this help so they can re-adapt to their community.

“I would like to see this service have greater coverage under health insurance.

“It is not about how the insurers can benefit, but how we can get patients healthy.”