Saudi Arabia urgently needs 30,000 medical staff

The fatal MERS virus has exposed the kingdom’s lacking healthcare system, with a ministry report revealing it needs at least 10,000 doctors & 20,000 nurses ‘by the end of the year’
Saudi Arabia urgently needs 30,000 medical staff
(Getty Images)
By Courtney Trenwith
Tue 18 Nov 2014 10:57 AM

Saudi Arabia needs more than 30,000 medical staff imminently, the government has warned in a new report published by the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

At least 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses are needed by the end of the year, while the country also is short nearly 3,000 primary healthcare centres, the report says, according to Makkah Daily.

The kingdom’s healthcare has been scrutinised in the past year amid an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which started in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has killed more than 700 people, mostly in the kingdom.

Earlier this year, the health minister was sacked after a Jeddah hospital was forced to shut down its emergency room after nurses became infected with the potentially fatal virus, leading to at least one virologist claiming the kingdom was not dealing with the virus effectively.

The kingdom also is dealing with the potential spread of Ebola among its thousands of African expatriates, as well as an old healthcare system.

The ministry report also criticises the kingdom’s centralised healthcare sector, which it says means critical decisions are made too slowly.

It calls for individual healthcare centres and hospitals to be given greater powers, particularly in emergency situations.

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