An official from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) says the accreditation of the organization’s Mental Health Service will help assure patients that care provided at its facilities is of high quality, compassionate, and safe.
Mr. Iain Tulley said the accreditation of HMC’s Mental Health Service by the Joint Commission International (JCI) is a ringing endorsement of the service’s development in recent years. As part of fulfilling the requirements for accreditation, the service was subject to a thorough evaluation process and has demonstrated that it is achieving high standards in practice, patient care, and patient safety.
“Accreditation from an industry-respected third-party body like JCI is a seal of recognition and demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest standard of care. It is a privilege to work with a team of staff who have been described as ‘highly compassionate’ and to be associated with a service that was described, in part, as ‘an example for the world’,” said Mr. Tulley, CEO of HMC’s Mental Health Service and the Qatar National Health Strategy 2018-2022 lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Dr. Majid Al Abdullah, Acting Chairman of HMC’s Psychiatry Department said: “Choosing to seek care or treatment for a mental health problem is a difficult step for anyone to take. Offering a service that has been assessed and accredited, provides assurance to patients, families and, others that the services being sought are of a high standard and that the treatment offered is both safe and effective.”
In recent years HMC’s mental healthcare service has undergone a significant expansion and now operates from seven sites, including inpatient and outpatient facilities, consultation/liaison services within the general hospitals, residential compounds, a specialized child and adolescent service, services for older adults, and community-based facilities.
Dr. Al Abdullah says ongoing collaborations with primary healthcare providers are also helping to facilitate easier access to specialist mental health services in the country.
“Collaboration with the Primary Health Care Corporation has helped lead to the establishment of specialist mental health clinics in local health centers, and this is an area of work commended by the JCI, as was our progress in developing specialist services to support patients with learning disabilities and eating disorders,” said Dr. Al Abdullah.
“We have over 600 staff and pride ourselves on ensuring our workforce is diverse and able to understand the cultural needs of our patients. The Mental Health Service runs nearly 70 clinics and in 2018 we cared for over 6,500 new patients in our outpatient clinics. As part of our commitment to delivering more community-based services, nearly 8,000 home visits were arranged for patients last year,” said Dr. Al Abdullah.
As part of the recent assessment which saw 13 HMC facilities and services endorsed by the US-based JCI, HMC’s Hamad Dental Center was also accredited for the first time. Established as an independent facility in 2016, the Hamad Dental Center offers patients access to specialist dental care and is responsible for all aspects of oral healthcare across HMC’s network of hospitals and facilities.
Dr. Ghanim Al Mannai, Dental Service Chairman and Senior Consultant Endodontics at HMC, echoed the sentiments of Mr. Tulley and said the JCI accreditation of the dental service is significant because it is an important part of creating a culture of quality improvement.
“The Hamad Dental Service provides highly specialized dental care to adult and pediatric patients from all over Qatar. In addition to services offered at our Hamad Dental Center, much of this care is delivered through dental clinics located across HMC’s network of community hospitals - Al Khor, Al Wakra, and The Cuban Hospitals,” said Dr. Al Mannai.
“JCI accreditation is a standards-based process that ensures organizations meet specific criteria pertaining to patient safety and quality of care and is something we are very proud of. It signals to our patents that we have complied with some of the highest standards in the industry and that they are therefore getting care that is on par with the best healthcare organizations in the world,” added Dr. Al Mannai.
Dr. Al Mannai noted that like mental health services, demand for specialized oral healthcare in the country is continuing to rise with the Hamad Dental Center recording a 14 percent increase in outpatients from 2016 to 2018. He said HMC is continuing to work to increase access to specialized dental healthcare in the country, noting that dental services will soon be introduced at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital. He added that HMC is working with education providers in the country to grow a local workforce.
“To help meet our increasing demand, we are working to grow our local workforce through partnerships with Qatar University and the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar. The Hamad Dental Center is also playing a key role in establishing the new College of Dental Medicine within Qatar University, which is scheduled to open in September. This teaching facility is expected to be instrumental in providing practical experience for dental students in the country. We also have a strong partnership with the Faculty of Dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Many of our dentists have completed specialist training to enhance their skills and prepare them to pass the admittance test for the highly respected membership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland,” added Dr. Al Mannai.