HMC, PHCC announce service changes as part of COVID-19 measures
As Qatar experiences the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the new variants leading to a higher number of cases and hospital admissions, the country has been reintroducing measures to protect the health of its population.
Last week, the Cabinet decided to stop medical services at private health facilities, except for emergency cases. This came after it has earlier announced a series of limitations, mainly capacity deductions, across different domains of public services.
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) have also announced some important changes to their services in light of the rising numbers and the need to divert resources to manage this accordingly.
To ensure the health and safety of its patients, visitors and healthcare staff, HMC said it is putting a strict visitor policy in place across all its hospitals.
The Corporation announced that no visitors are allowed into any of the seven COVID-19 facilities, which include Al Wakra Hospital, Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital, Communicable Disease Center, The Cuban Hospital, Ras Lafan Hospital, Mesaieed Hospital and the Surgical Specialty Center.
At HMC’s non-COVID-19 facilities, the following will apply:
- Public visiting hours are from 3 pm to 8 pm daily.
- Visitors are required to display a green Ehteraz status, wear a mask and undergo a temperature check before entry.
- Only one visitor is allowed at a time for a maximum of 15 minutes with maximum 3 visitors during public visiting hours. Escort is not allowed.
- Food, flowers, drinks and chocolates are not allowed to be brought into the facilities.
- Children under 15 years old are not permitted to visit the facility.
HMC Visitor Policy for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 Hospitals pic.twitter.com/aCM3v2KaW7— وزارة الصحة العامة (@MOPHQatar) April 4, 2021
Head of Infection Control at Al Wakra Hospital, Dr Nasser Al Ansari said, " These changes have been implemented for the safety and protection of our patients, visitors and staff and we kindly ask members of the public to adhere to the policies while we fight the second wave of the virus in Qatar.”
On the other hand, the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has temporarily halted the provision of COVID-19 PCR swabs for people traveling abroad. This service will only be provided by certain private health care facilities.
The PHCC teams at health centers are among those leading the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program and the staff has been working tirelessly to provide COVID-19 swabs for people showing signs and symptoms of the virus.
The decision has been taken to help these teams focus more on offering services to people with COVID-19 and those being vaccinated.
Executive Director of Operations at PHCC, Dr Samya Al Abdulla commented, "Our healthcare teams are working hard to administer COVID-19 vaccines in all 27 primary health centers as well as the Qatar National Convention Center, seven days a week. Additionally, PHCC staff are providing COVID-19 track and trace services, swabs for suspected cases, close contacts, and anyone showing signs and symptoms of the virus.”
"With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Qatar, our healthcare staff are under enormous pressure. The decision to temporary stop providing PCR swabs for people traveling abroad in primary health centers has been made to ensure we prioritize our resources on providing services for people with COVID-19 and for those being vaccinated as well as continue to provide essential primary care services and walk-in urgent care in our health centers,” she added.
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