We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Tue 7 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Communication –easier said than done?

When judged against the mammoth task of overhauling the health sector, communication should be the easiest of Dubai Health Authority's (DHA) tasks.

When judged against the mammoth task of overhauling the health sector, communication should be the easiest of Dubai Health Authority's (DHA) tasks.

But a complete meltdown in communication between the health authority and its private sector in recent weeks has left the medical community with no one to trust on policy decisions.

The miscommunication mayhem reached its peak last month, when MT was told by the incoming DHA that its predecessor, the Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS), had pulled the plug on its controversial electronic data-reporting scheme.

DoHMS had supposedly sent a letter to all facilities in the private sector announcing the end of the scheme. But a straw poll revealed not a single doctor had received, or could locate, such a letter.

The confusion wasn't helped by the flat refusal of DoHMS staff to provide a straight answer - or even answer the phone.

The industry is admittedly struggling with recent policy changes. Even at the best of times a major organisational transition can be difficult. To take a tip from the City, imagine what it will be like in Lehman Brothers' European offices this month when Japanese company Nomura takes over the reins.

But this isn't the Square Mile. It's far more fundamental. Whatever power mongering underpins Dubai's health sector, it must be recognised that disharmony at the top ultimately trickles down to negatively impact those on the front line.

Many in the private sector teamed up with the health authority to introduce the electronic reporting scheme. Some had invested thousands of dirhams to update their IT systems for a smooth implementation. And the thanks they get when things don't go perfectly? A closed door.

When times are tough, it's tempting to withdraw from questions. But DoHMS appears to have adopted a formal policy of shutting down then things get tricky.

It stopped talking to healthcare providers at a time when it should have engaged the most. For, lets be clear, as a health sector balanced on the back of the private sector, these are the people making the industry work. The government can't afford to isolate them.

Untold damage has been wreaked by DoHMS in its hasty reaction to a difficult situation. It has left the DHA in the firing line with no choice but to pick up the pieces. As far as the healthcare sector is concerned, we can only hope it does a far better job.

Joanna Hartley is the editor of Medical Times Middle East.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest health tips & news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.