ABU DHABI // The city’s biggest maternity hospital has run out of room.
Corniche Hospital, which handles about a quarter of births in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday urged expectant mothers to find somewhere else to deliver their babies.
Linda Clark, the hospital’s chief executive, said it had been operating above capacity for years.
“While we have continued to look after all patients during this time, this has caused increasing delays for our patients, both in getting appointments as well as in clinics.
“There are two new maternity hospitals opening up in Abu Dhabi in the near future and their physicians have already started accepting patients.
“We are therefore encouraging some patients to consider these and other options.”
Ms Clark said the hospital had to do more to address the heavy volume of patients.
“In September, we reorganised our clinic appointment schedules, stopped double booking patients and added several evening clinics. In addition, we have recruited more consultant physicians.
“This has improved our service to all our patients and waiting times have dramatically been reduced.
“Despite all of this, the volume of patients wishing to attend Corniche Hospital for routine care still outstrips our physical capacity.”
The changes follow a new policy at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, another of Abu Dhabi’s oldest and largest hospitals.
The National reported this month that only Thiqa-card holders, who are all UAE nationals, can book non-emergency appointments, and expatriate patients were being turned away.
Ms Clark said Corniche Hospital was also reviewing which insurance cards it will now accept.
“Our advice is based on the patient’s clinical background and medical insurance and not simply whether she is a UAE national or an expat.
“This approach is only applied to completely new patients requesting a new appointment with us and no existing patient has been cancelled or sent elsewhere in the middle of her care or pregnancy.”
The hospital specialises in high-risk obstetrics, foetal medicine, neonatal intensive care, obstetrics, gynaecology, midwifery and, more recently, IVF.
“Corniche Hospital is proud of providing the best care for mothers and babies in Abu Dhabi and beyond and we will continue to treat all emergencies and accept all high risk or critical cases that cannot be appropriately seen by other health providers,” said Ms Clark.
She stressed only prospective new patients were affected.
“We are encouraging them to look at other providers to be able to get their early pregnancy care in a timely manner.”
The Corniche Hospital opened in 1977 in a converted hotel and moved to its current site in 1984.
Hospitals opening soon in Abu Dhabi include the 140-bed Danat Al Emarat women’s and children’s hospital and the 100-bed BrightPoint women’s hospital.