(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Health (MoH) has shut down 42 health facilities for allegedly committing 356 health violations during the month of Safar.
The Department of Private Sector Facilities at the MoH ordered the closure of these facilities based on reports submitted by field inspection teams of the Directorate General of Health Affairs in the respective regions, Dr. Ali Az-Zawawi, undersecretary to private sector facilities at the MoH said, adding that during the period, 86 violations were committed by health personnel while dealing with patients.
He said his department oversees functioning of 130 hospitals, 2,000 polyclinics and 7,000 pharmacies throughout the Kingdom. "There are about 98,000 health personnel working in the private sector facilities," he noted.
He said the team conducts regular inspection of private facilities to check the quality of services offered in ambulance services, operating theaters and the professional suitability of medics and paramedics employed by these health institutions to ensure quality health care to patients.
He said the irregularities included functioning without licenses or with expired licenses, lack of trained medical staff and absence of proper facilities and equipment. The closure of some of these medical facilities was temporary and they can resume operations once the irregularities are rectified, he added.
Pointing out that the action taken against the management of these facilities reflects the ministry's concern for the safety and welfare of patients, Dr. Az-Zawawi warned that negligence and recklessness on the part of health providers will not be tolerated by the government. Stern action will be taken against such violators based on the seriousness of the violations, he added.
"We treat the private sector as strategic partners in providing health services to the people and we want them to offer quality services in line with the 'Patients first' vision in their ventures," the official said.
Stressing the importance of public and private sector partnership, he said Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeh values such partnership as strategic to take the health care services to new heights.
In 2012, Dr. Al-Rabeeah launched a "Patients First" program, which highlighted the care expected from health providers for patients in the Kingdom.
Last year, the MoH closed 30 medical complexes, 15 polyclinics, 29 pharmacies, 27 optical houses and five physiotherapy centers for violations. During the same period, the ministry also collected SR 3.75 million in fines from such violators, which included SR 1.98 million from pharmacies.
The ministry has also opened a helpline for the public to complain about medical errors and health violations in the Kingdom. "Members of the public can register their complaints online or they can directly fax the details for necessary action," Az-Zawawi said, adding that they can make an online complaint on www.moh.gov.sa or fax 0112124196.