Posted on March 08, 2018

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) continues to reinforce its commitment to advancing mental health care in Qatar with the expansion of programs aimed at improving the support available to patients with moderate to severe mental health care needs. “We recognize the growing need for mental health care and support in Qatar, and have pledged to further expand the service this year after an increase in investment in 2017,” said Mr. Mahmoud Al Raisi, Chief of Continuing Care at HMC.

HMC’s mental health care hospital facilities have undergone improvements in the last year, including facility and service expansions and refurbishments. Last year an additional 12 mental health beds for male patients were opened and an additional five residential beds for long-term male patients have been added to the service. There are plans to open a further acute care facility for female patients during 2018, which will temporarily replace the female ward in the existing facility and allow renovation work to take place.

Community-based mental health facilities located in West Doha currently provide support to residents who do not require hospitalization but need further support; these facilities also care for individuals who have been discharged from hospital but still require specialized support. Additionally, Al Wakra Hospital operates a community-based mental health care service and provides home visits. This service will be further expanded in 2018 and additional community services are set to be established to serve the whole country in the coming two years.

Commenting on the ongoing efforts to improve mental health services for patients across Qatar, Mr. Al Raisi explained that in addition to enhancing and expanding mental health facilities and increasing the number of available beds, HMC is also working to expand the number of staff caring for mental health patients. “The demand for HMC’s mental health services is high and continues to rise. As a result, we have increased our workforce in 2017 by 24%; from 325 to 403 staff across HMC facilities, including staff who function as part of mental health liaison teams providing important services to most of our general and specialist hospitals,” said Mr. Al Raisi. He added: “We have also employed new consultant psychiatrists, occupational therapists, a specialized physiotherapist, and many more nurses as key members of our multi-disciplinary healthcare teams.”

Mr. Iain Tulley, CEO of HMC’s Mental Health Service added that in addition to the key role HMC staff play in meeting the demand for mental health care services in Qatar, the role of partner services  - both within HMC and externally - is also critical. He explained: “We are working to develop a number of partnerships to facilitate easier access to mental health care in the community and support the great work being done by the community-based clinics. For instance, by working more closely with HMC’s Mobile Doctor Service, physicians now provide physical health checks for adults within the community who have mild to moderate mental health problems.”

Plans are in place to enhance and expand the current facility in Muntazah, the benefit of which will be felt once the project is completed. Expected to be completed in approximately two years, the expansion will deliver a total of 100 beds and new activity space, alongside facilities for outpatient services, education, and training. Mr. Tulley added: “Our Primary Health Care Corporation colleagues are also providing mental health patients with an important level of support, strengthening our ability to provide a better level of ongoing care.  Psychology Clinics are now available at the Rawdat Al Khail and Lebaib Primary Health Care Centers. These have been warmly welcomed by patients and their families as many of them are more comfortable seeking professional help outside the Hospital.”

HMC’s Mental Health Service is the primary provider of mental healthcare services in Qatar, delivering a range of inpatient and outpatient services for individuals with moderate to severe mental health challenges.

More information about HMC’s mental health services is available from Nesma’ak, HMC’s customer service line, by calling #16060, or by emailing: nesmaak@hamad.qa.

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