WORKING AS ONE

Qatar 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

The Ministry of Health focuses on collaborating with private hospitals and clinics on a range of initiatives to improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of care services for patients.

Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari was appointed Minister of Public Health in 2016. She has also been Managing Director of HMC since 2007. She is the Chairperson of the Qatar Biobank Board of Directors and sits on the Academic Health System International Advisory Board, the Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute International Advisory Board, and a number of other committees at the Ministry of Public Health. She is a member of the Qatar University Board of Regents, Sidra Medicine Board of Governors, Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, and Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation Council. In 2018, she was elected an international member of the United States’ National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Following completion of a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in healthcare management, she obtained a PhD in healthcare management from Brunel University in the UK.

How have operations at the Medical City complex developed since its opening in 2017?

The formal opening of the three new hospitals in Medical City—Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, Ambulatory Care Center, and Women's Wellness and Research Center—by His Highness the Amir was a momentous achievement for Qatar. The new hospitals significantly increase capacity across our system while also providing highly advanced environments in which our care teams can treat patients. We have made great progress since the opening. In 2018, a number of new services opened at the new hospitals, including the diabetes clinic at the Women's Wellness and Research Center and audiology and ear, nose, and throat services at the Ambulatory Care Center. Every new service has boosted our ability to deliver the best care to our patients. Moreover, activity has continued to increase monthly; some 10,000 patients receive care within these facilities every week.

Given Qatar's growing population, how is HMC working to attract qualified human resources to meet new needs?

Increased demand for our services is not new, because Qatar's population has been expanding at a rapid rate for the past 40 years. We have worked hard to attract the world's best talent, Qatari and non-Qatari, and are proud of our achievement in becoming an internationally recognized teaching institution and academic medical center. Each year, our medical education programs welcome over 100 new doctors in training and this number is increasing every year. In the lead up to the opening of the new Medical City hospitals, we undertook our largest-ever recruitment drive and attracted thousands of skilled clinical and support staff into our workforce. We are proud to have a skilled and dedicated workforce and understand the importance of looking after our employees. Numerous initiatives have been introduced across our organization in recent years, each aiming to make the daily lives of our employees as smooth, rewarding, and enjoyable as possible. The introduction of our human resources' self-service system has simplified the process for many employee requests. The Sogha discount program enables employees and their families to make great savings at a wide range of outlets and maximize the quality of life away from work. Moreover, our recreation centers allow employees to relax and exercise in advanced facilities on campus.

How would you assess cooperation between the public healthcare system and private healthcare providers?

Qatar's public and private sector healthcare providers all work toward the common goal of servicing the healthcare needs of the population. Along with the expansion of the public sector in recent years, the private sector has also undergone significant growth, with a number of new facilities boosting capacity. A patient referral system operates between the public and private sectors enables patients to efficiently transition between care providers. Notably, the ministry collaborates with many private hospitals and clinics on a range of quality and education initiatives, each aimed at improving the quality, safety, and effectiveness of care services for patients.

What is your outlook for the health sector and the public system in Qatar for the year ahead?

In the coming year, we will continue to expand capacity across our health system. HMC will continue to expand its services delivered out of its new general hospital in the industrial area and open a new trauma and emergency tower at Hamad General Hospital. In primary care, we will open two more health and wellness centers, boosting primary care's ability to help patients stay healthy as well as being the initial entry point for patients into the public health system. We will continue to strengthen the way in which health providers work together across the public health system. This will ensure patients experience smooth transitions and continuity of care from one provider to another along their entire treatment plan.