A doctor checking on a patient at the Emergency Department at Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Authorities on Wednesday announced new steps to reduce crowding at emergency units of hospitals in the capital. As 90 per cent of patients visit emergency care units of Abu Dhabi hospitals for non-emergency cases, officials said the new steps will ensure immediate and appropriate attention to emergency cases.

The Department of Health — Abu Dhabi, the regulator of the health care sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has categorised emergency departments into two: Emergency Units and Urgent Care Centres. The department has licensed eight Emergency Units and 48 Urgent Care Centres in public and private health care providers across the emirate as per the new standards, officials announced at a press conference here on Wednesday.

The officials revealed that many patients, especially youngsters, visit emergency units for minor illnesses to save time as they get immediate attention there. A 2010 analysis found that around 90 per cent of 300,000 cases reached at emergency unit of a hospital were for non-emergency matters, said Mohammad Al Hameli, Undersecretary of the department.

“The new model for healthcare facilities’ Emergency Departments in the Emirate will meet patients’ requirements and medical needs more efficiently, by identifying and providing appropriate and safe emergency care services,” he said.

From left: Neil Clark, Acting Director, Capacity Management Division at DoH; Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, Director, Emergency & Disaster Management Division at DoH; Mohamed Ahmed Al Hameli, Undersecretary of DoH; Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei, Director, Healthcare Quality Division at Doh, and Dr. Ayesha Al Memari, Chair of Department, Accident and Emergency Services-Physician Prastice Services. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

The newly-licenced eight emergency departments are in the following facilities: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Al Mafraq Hospital, Al Rahba Hospital, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, Tawam Hospital, Madinat Zayed Hospital, Al Ain Hospital, and NMC Royal Hospital.

These hospitals spread across three regions of the emirate — Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra [formerly Western Region] are sufficient to handle emergency cases, as per the studies conducted on emergency cases in the past. However, the officials clarified that other hospitals are not restricted to accept any emergency cases but the eight designated facilities are ideal and fully equipped for such cases. “These facilities have emergency physicians on 24/7-duty with state-of-the-art equipment used for emergency resuscitation, surgery, and 24 hour-access to intensive care facilities,” said Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, director of Emergency & Disaster Management Division at the department.

Neil David Clark, an adviser at the department, said all hospitals have to treat emergency cases, without even asking any documents such as insurance card or residence visa.

Dr Ayesha Al Memari, Chair of Department, Accident and Emergency Services — Physician Practice Services at SEHA (Abu Dhabi Health Services Company), said only patients suffering from acute, life-threatening conditions should approach the emergency care department. Patients with minor illnesses and injuries have to visit Urgent Care Centres, which will provide initial assessment, diagnostic treatment and referral as appropriate, she said.

Numbers

8 Emergency Care Departments across Abu Dhabi Emirate

48 Urgent Care Centres across Abu Dhabi Emirate

90% of patients approach emergency units for non-emergency cases

■ In case of an emergency, call 999