Sharjah hospital reopens partially after fixes

The Ministry of Health shut down Sharjah's Royal Hospital after it failed surprise inspections.

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SHARJAH // The Ministry of Health has started reopening some clinics in Sharjah’s Royal Hospital after management fixed breaches authorities had found.

The biggest private referral hospital in the country, with 160 beds, it was closed last month after a series of inspections on private healthcare centres.

The ministry on Tuesday reopened about 12 clinics in the hospital that had been closed for 33 days, but about half of them remain closed.

Sheikh Faisal bin Khalid Al Qasimi, chairman of the hospital, criticised the way it was closed and said it had lost a total of Dh12 million.

Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant under secretary for medical practices and licensing at the ministry, yesterday said it sought above all to protect the UAE community and people’s safety, which he called a “red line that cannot be crossed”.

Dr Al Amiri said the ministry had held several meetings with, and sent several warnings to, the hospital to address the situation.

He said the ministry’s inspectors had found many breaches, including unlicensed and unqualified staff working at the hospital, which was against the law and did not comply with medical ethics or global standards.

Dr Al Amiri said the hospital was given the chance to set things right on several occasions.

After it failed to do so, the case was referred to the medical licensing board, which decided to shut the hospital for 60 days.

The hospital was given a deadline of 15 days to do what was necessary before the closure. It was also given the right to file a grievance during that deadline.

He said the closure took place only after a ruling on the grievance, which was carried out in coordination with Sharjah’s Department of Economic Development (DED).

Dr Al Amiri denied reports about patients having to leave the hospital because of the surprise closure, saying there were no patients there at the time.

He said the power was cut three hours after the closure, which was carried out in the presence of the head of medical licences at the ministry and the representative of DED.

In January health inspectors closed Sharjah’s Central Private Hospital, a 60-bed private hospital, because of a shortage of doctors, nurses and equipment.

In 2010, an FNC committee visited all government hospitals in the Northern Emirates.
It found a chronic shortage of staff and equipment.