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By MOHAMMED IQBAL
DOHA: In a move to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is working on a project to prepare “national clinical guidelines” for doctors in the public and private health sectors.
The elaborate document will serve as a guide for all doctors in treating different types of diseases. It will also be used for reference while investigating complaints about medical errors, a senior SCH official said yesterday.
National guidelines will also be issued for admission, discharge and referral of patients between different healthcare facilities and departments.
Asked what SCH was doing to address recurring complaints about medical errors in private and public healthcare facilities in the country, Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, director of the Health Quality Management Department at SCH told The Peninsula, “We are working on three major projects to improve patient safety as well as performance of doctors. We will be preparing national guidelines for treatment, clinical pathways, and admission and discharge of patients.”
He said many developed countries like Britain, the United States, New Zealand and Australia either have such guidelines or are in the process of preparing them.
“By preparing treatment guidelines for doctors, we do not mean that doctors should strictly follow them when treating a patient. But they can use it for reference when dealing with different situations and different types of diseases. The written guidelines will also help us in investigating medical errors to see if the treatment was carried out in the proper way,” said Al Khanji.
The treatment guidelines will be supported by an advisory on “clinical pathways”.
“This basically is to guide doctors on how to move the patient around the health system, how and when to refer a patient from one facility to another or between different departments in a hospital, and what are the specialities available in the country,” said Al Khanji.
More importantly, there will be guidelines for admission and discharge of patients to address crowding and long waiting times in healthcare facilities.
“These guidelines will tell what categories of patients require hospital admission and inpatient care and when a patient should be discharged after treatment. They will help avoid unnecessary admissions and clear hospital beds in a faster manner,” he added.
He said the guidelines will be prepared by expert teams comprising representatives from the public and private health sectors.
“We will soon start work on the three projects and are planning to complete the guidelines in two to three years,” said Al Khanji.