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Thu 10 Dec 2015 01:01 PM

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$7.9bn Doha medical project ‘to lay off 250 staff’

Qatar’s planned Sidra Medical and Research Center has suffered repeated delays

$7.9bn Doha medical project ‘to lay off 250 staff’

A long delayed new medical research centre in Qatar is reportedly planning to axe more than 200 jobs by the end of this month as part of “rightsizing” plans.

According to Doha News, Tim Carmack, acting CEO of Sidra Medical and Research Center, has sent formal letters to an unspecified number of employees informing them their jobs are “at risk” and warning them “of the redundancy of their position here at Sidra”.

He has also informed those on zero hours or other defined-term contracts that their contacts will not be renewed.

Carmack said the job cuts were part of a corporate restructuring in response to repeated delays to the under-construction scheme.

Sidra officials have reportedly composed a new five-year plan and budget for the project, which is years behind schedule and at the center of an ongoing legal dispute with previous contractors.

In the memo, reported Doha News, Carmack said: “Part of this (budget) exercise includes revisiting the structure and resources needed to open the OPC (outpatient clinic) and still progress with the hospital commissioning readiness.

“We have had to make some difficult decisions about rightsizing the organisation, and to that end, today we sent out ‘at risk’ letters, forewarning some of the redundancy of their position here at Sidra.

“Others on defined-term contracts have also received notification that their contracts will not be renewed.”

The number of positions affected was not disclosed, but a source reportedly told the website that around 250 jobs are expected to be cut by the end of this month, with more anticipated in the new year.

Some of the affected staff recently relocated to Qatar to take up their posts, the source added.

The $7.9 billion project next to Qatar National Convention Centre was intended to be an “ultra-modern academic medical centre” specialising in women and children.

Funded by the Qatar Foundation, it was first scheduled to open in 2011 but has missed numerous opening dates and staff were reportedly warned this summer to expect further delays.

Sidra had not responded to requests by either Doha News or Arabian Business for a comment on the news at the time of publication.

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