Minister of Public Health, HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari this week visited the Ras Laffan Hospital and met with the last group of recovered COVID-19 patients being discharged from the hospital. Ras Laffan Hospital is under Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
Ras Laffan was formally opened in April and has since provided high-quality care to COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms. With the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Qatar continuing to decline, there is now less demand for hospital beds. As a result, Ras Laffan Hospital will no longer admit COVID-19 patients and the facility will be utilised for other healthcare needs.
HE Dr Al Kuwari said she was delighted to meet two of the final group of patients being discharged before they left Ras Laffan Hospital to return home. To date, more than 80,000 patients have successfully recovered from COVID-19 in Qatar – with each patient having received the expert support they need in a hospital or medical isolation facility.
Qatar has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in the world, a testament to the hiqh quality of medical care provided at Ras Laffan Hospital and in other COVID-19 facilities under HMC. She congratulated everyone involved in the opening and operation of Ras Laffan Hospital for their commitment and dedication.
HE Dr Al Kuwari said that we are now past the peak of the virus in Qatar and the number of new confirmed cases continues to fall, but COVID-19 is still very much a threat to the health of our population.
I am pleased to see this state-of-the-art new hospital able to now focus on medical care for the general population in the north of Qatar. I hope that with the help of everyone in the community in following the preventative measures we will be able to return all seven COVID-19 dedicated hospitals to normal patient care.
She calls on everyone to stay safe, follow the preventative measures of physical distancing, and seek medical attention immediately at the first sign of symptoms. She also reminded the public to be extra vigilant, especially if there are high risk individuals in the family.
Dr Saad Al Kaabi, Chairman of the HMC System Wide Incident Command Committee (SWICC) for COVID-19, explained the key priorities set out at the start of the pandemic.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Qatar, Dr Al Kaabi said that they have worked hard as a healthcare system to ensure all patients with COVID-19 can quickly access the care they need.
Seven hospitals were designated to care for COVID-19 patients. Four hospitals, including Ras Laffan, were previously not in operation and were rapidly opened to significantly boost capacity – from 2,250 beds to a potential maximum of 3,500 hospital beds.
One of the key factors in achieving Qatar’s low COVID-19 mortality rate has been our ability to admit patients with the most severe symptoms to intensive care facilities as soon as their conditions determine the need.
He said that this COVID-19 plan delivered significant expansion to the intensive care capacity – to more than 700 beds – and at the peak of the virus, over 300 patients receiving treatment in intensive care units. Being able to provide patients with intensive care support without delay can make the difference between life and death, according to Dr Al Kaabi.
Ras Laffan Hospital Clinical Lead Dr Khaled Al Jalham said he is proud of their team for their role in caring for COVID-19 patients in Qatar. In just two weeks before opening, they were able to transform the empty facility into a highly-advanced hospital with more than 760 operational hospital beds.
As Ras Laffan comes to the end of its role as a care facility for COVID-19 patients, Dr Al Jalham said they are looking forward to the next chapter, which will see the hospital further boosting healthcare delivery in the north of Qatar.