Abu Dhabi: The privately owned Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi is allegedly no longer accepting patients, staff members said on Thursday.
Sources at the 200-bed hospital claimed to Gulf News that many staff have not been paid salaries for months, and that many had resigned.
“The hospital is no longer open, as far as I know. I’ve been with it for a long time, but I’ve just given in my resignation,” one staff member told Gulf News. “Things here seem very uncertain now, and even if things do turn around, it will be at least a few months before any of us can expect to get paid,” the staff member added.
The hospital’s appointment booking hotline was not working on Thursday. It played a pre-recorded message: “We are sorry we are unable to take your call right now. Please call us again later.”
The hospital is located in two towers on Airport Road. When Gulf News visited the hospital on Thursday, the staff at the main reception said they were closed.
“We are closed right now and are not taking any appointments for a month due to some structural changes,” the receptionist said.
The other tower appeared to be deserted, and the pharmacy was closed with no merchandise on its shelves.
A case has also reportedly been filed, and long-term personnel said they were hoping for a peaceful resolution to their complaints.
“We have been worried about the situation, and have filed our complaints with the police. Hopefully, the authorities can help,” a long-term nurse told Gulf News on Thursday.
Senior officials at the hospital were unreachable for comment. But one senior doctor said that “work is happening in the background, in coordination with health sector officials, to resolve issues.”
The hospital first opened in 2013, and has been a popular choice for many residents in the capital.
In April 2019, the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), which regulates healthcare facilities in the Emirate, temporarily closed Universal Hospital for failing to meet certain health and safety standards. Patients were then transferred to other facilities, but Universal re-opened once again on May 6.
A statement by the Department of Health said at the time that the hospital had implemented “corrective actions”.
Dr Shabeer Nellikode, managing director at Universal Hospital, told Gulf News at the time that the hospital had been carrying out “certain structural changes that had to be communicated to the authorities”. Dr Nellikode could not be reached for a statement on recent events.
Sources however report that the hospital has been in financial trouble for a while, and that not much can be done to resolve issues now unless new investors step in.
“I feel that the temporary closure in April simply made things worse,” a source has said.
The DoH has been contacted for a comment on the matter.