(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Health issued a directive yesterday to all health institutions in the private sector to report any medical mistakes that occurred in the hospitals and clinics within 48 hours from the time of the incident.
Deputy Minister of Health for Planning and Development Mohammed Hamza Khoshaim, who signed the circular yesterday, said that it is part of the ministry's progressive steps to monitor medical problems.
Appreciating the role of the private sector in health care services in the Kingdom, Khoshaim said the Ministry of Health introduced an electronic program called Sentential Events. This would link private sector hospitals and the ministry to keep an eye on all medical errors registered in the program.
The deputy minister said the new program would not only help the ministry in finding out medical errors instantly, but would also encourage hospitals to be more responsible in dealing with people and medical treatment of patients.
Last year alone, the Ministry of Health suspended operations of 376 private health institutions in various parts of the Kingdom for violation of health rules and regulations.
They include four hospitals, 32 medical complexes, 14 dispensaries, 11 pharmacies, two warehouses, and 32 health care service institutes such as optical centers, physiotherapy centers and dental clinics.
Nasser Al-Dosari, chairman of the Committee of Irregular Institutions at the Ministry of Health, said the committee had received 755 complaints of malpractices and medical errors in the private sector.
Around 180 institutions were asked to take remedial measures to offer better services to patients.
Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah introduced a 'Patients First' program to help patients get the best services from private and public health institutions throughout the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Health is a major player entrusted with the provision of preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care services for the Kingdom's population. It provides health care services through a network of more than 2,000 primary health care centers in the Kingdom.
Al-Rabeeah also explained that the ministry planned a national project for Integrated and Comprehensive Health Care, based on the values of extensiveness and equitable distribution of health services.
These projects cover all segments of patients including children, mothers, adults and the elderly, he added. The plan came into effect in 2009/2010, and will be completed in 2018/19.
Activities such as looking after patients at home (family health program), dialysis patients, one-day surgeries, patients with chronic diseases, matters relating to communicable and noncommunicable diseases, and intensive care units have all been developed to offer the best medical services.
The Health Ministry is considered the lead government agency responsible for the management, planning, financing and regulating the health care sector. The ministry also undertakes the overall supervision and follow-up of health care-related activities carried out by the private sector. Last year, the MoH received an allocation of SR 16 billion from the annual budget.
In early January, the ministry signed SR 3 billion worth of contracts with 30 private sector companies for health projects. They included the construction of hospitals, supply of pharmaceutical products and equipment, biomedical engineering projects, hospital supplies and furnishing of newly built hospitals throughout the Kingdom.
In addition, SR 1.4 billion worth of projects were signed that included the first stage of the King Faisal Medical City in the Southern province, the construction of a 15-floor tower at a cost of SR 448 million, a SR 252 million contract for a children and maternity hospital with a capacity of 300 beds in Al-Jouf, and the installation of generators and elevators in several Ministry of Health facilities.