Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman and Managing Director, VPS Healthcare, talks about how his hospitals have resumed normal operations
How important is it for your hospital to be Covid-19 free for patients?
Our hospitals need to be Covid-19 free as it would ease the lingering concern among patients coming to the medical facility whether they would get infected. Safety of patients visiting our facility is paramount to us. Covid-free hospitals are deemed safe to visit.
Once the pandemic erupted, patients not to visit facilities unless it was an emergency. Telemedicine and online consultation facilities were set up for those who required medical services. Multifarious measures were adopted in the hospital, including a triage system to segregate suspected patients at the entrance.
Now, with the number of infected patients declining, life is getting back to normal. All our hospitals in Abu Dhabi have become Covid-free and have resumed normal operations — inpatient, outpatient services and elective and non-elective surgeries. Having said this, at VPS Healthcare, we still follow safety procedures and protocols to ensure safety of patients. Checking for temperature, symptoms and other measures are continued. We also have provisions to take care of potential Covid-19 patients by providing alternative access to our healthcare facilities without mixing with non-Covid cases.
The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the might and extensive capacity of the UAE’s healthcare system to tackle any emergencies. Having worked on the ground in containing the virus, our team has garnered immense experience and expertise in handling unprecedented challenges. In the post-Covid world, VPS Healthcare is determined to demonstrate this real expertise to deliver advanced and quality services with care and compassion, ensuring complete patient safety.
How many VPS Hospitals in Abu Dhabi are Covid-free and which are the hospitals?
All VPS Hospitals in Abu Dhabi are Covid free. This includes Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi; Medeor Hospital, Abu Dhabi; LLH Hospital, Abu Dhabi; Burjeel Medical City, Mohamed Bin Zayed City; LLH Hospital, Musaffah; Lifecare Hospital, Musaffah; Lifecare Hospital, Baniyas; Burjeel Royal Hospital, Al Ain, and Medeor International Hospital, Al Ain. Apart from this, our hospitals in Dubai and the Northern Emirates have also become Covid-free. This includes, Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery and Medeor Hospital in Dubai and Burjeel Speciality Hospital in Sharjah.
Tell us what measures have you taken to convert your hospital to a non-Covid-19 facility?
All medical facilities under VPS Healthcare in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah had treated Covid-19 patients. VPS Healthcare was the only private healthcare facility to dedicate an entire hospital for the treatment of infected patients. We had dedicated Burjeel Medical City, our flagship project, which has a capacity of over 400 beds for the cause. Also, an RT-PCR laboratory was set up in the facility with a capacity to test 5,000 samples daily. We had also managed various provisional quarantine and treatment centres in Abu Dhabi and other emirates along with the health department.
VPS Healthcare set up a massive provisional testing facility at Al Massoud site in Musaffah and had played a crucial role in testing blue-collar labourers of the industrial belt. This facility was set up as part of the National Screening Project of the Department of Health and SEHA. The facility could test 3,500 persons daily. We had tested about 100,000 people of Musaffah as part of the project.
We managed to declare VPS facilities as Covid-free by the following measures:
● Working towards the initiative in cooperation with the leadership of the UAE and the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi.
● Implementation of comprehensive, high quality, and scientific-based care which helped us to have a high cure rate.
● Accommodating Covid patients in other units managed by VPS and DoH like quarantine units and field hospitals.
How do you plan to change the mindset of people reluctant to go to the hospital for fear of the virus?
The number of Covid-19 cases in the UAE has declined significantly. But yet, it is too early to say that we are completely out of the risk. Hence, we shouldn’t let our guarddown. With restrictions being eased and hospitals becoming Covid-19 free, the number of patients coming to medical facilities has increased. Having said this, some are still wary of visiting hospitals fearing contraction of the virus. The requirements of these people are met through telemedicine and home care.
VPS Healthcare has adopted a multi-pronged strategy across our medical facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients. This in line with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and meets international standards and protocols. We had established an efficient triage system at our hospitals to segregate suspected patients and reduce the risk of spreading. The system will be continued. Each patient coming to our facilities will be checked for any potential symptoms of Covid-19.
Burjeel Hospitals are known for its ‘art of healing’ approach in treating patients. In the new normal times brought in by the pandemic, we are fully equipped to serve our patients in a completely safe, comforting and reassuring environment.
LLH, Lifecare and Medeor facilities in Abu Dhabi, Mussaffah, and Baniyas regions have been steadfastly serving communities relied on us for their medical requirements. With our facilities becoming Covid-19 free, we have resumed normal operations and are ready to deliver all advanced and specialised treatments.