Nearly Dh10 billion ($2.7 billion) has been invested in 2012 alone to enhance healthcare in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, senior health officials said in the capital.
The investment is being made to increase the quality and range of healthcare, and it will also increase the number of hospital beds in the emirate from 3,600 in 2010 to about 4,600 by 2015, said Zeid Al Siksek, chief executive officer at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD).
“In addition, to reduce the burden on healthcare facilities, a new system now requires nearly 1.3 million residents to first visit primary healthcare clinics for treatment,” Al Siksek said.
The system, which applies to residents with government-subsidized basic insurance plans, provides treatment at these primary healthcare clinics, and refers patients with urgent needs to other tertiary healthcare facilities, he explained.
Since the program is being assessed and is still in its pilot phase, patients who need to be treated outside the primary healthcare clinics, as decided by their physicians, are currently only being referred to the Tawam Hospital in Al Ain and the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City in the capital.
Al Siksek also said that 25,000 medical licenses had been issued this year to healthcare professionals.
At present, 1,422 licensed Emirati healthcare professionals are also working in the emirate, of whom 72 per cent are female.