The Hayyak information and appointment helpline of the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has been enhanced to allow people to get appointments within a three-month period instead of the earlier system of one week, local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported.
A source at PHCC told the daily that the new system would respond to the needs of patients, especially in terms of fixing an appointment with a specific doctor. This would help address complaints from some patients that they got appointments without the doctor's name being specified, and how this caused much discomfort to a considerable number of people.
The service enables patients to book medical appointment at 27 health centres across the country by calling 107.
The new Hayyak system allows each patient to be registered on the list of a specific physician. The Family Physician Programme involves putting a specific group of patients on the list of a doctor named by the patient.
The source noted that citizens can undergo all necessary health checkups at any PHCC centre, even those where they are not registered, without the need for a prior appointment if it concerns the general clinic. The specialised clinics, on the other hand, require appointments to see a doctor there.
The source said the number of patients who enjoyed the services of PHCC centres last year, both with and without appointments, was in excess of 3.1mn, up by around 6% compared to the previous year. The number of PHCC visitors with prior appointments last year amounted to 65% of the total number of patients seen there, the daily added.
Around 25% of the total number of patients who registered for appointments last year did not show up at the designated time although the PHCC repeatedly reminded them of their appointments through phone calls and SMSes. The source said this was a waste of time and resources, and had an adverse impact on other patients.
Such missed-appointment slots are normally used to see critical patients who do not book appointments.
Further, the source said each doctor at the PHCC often sees around 25 patients during his or her work shift, and the figure can go up in case there are patients without appointments who need urgent care.
The usual period dedicated to each patient with a doctor is set at around 15 minutes, which is considered enough in accordance with relevant international standards.
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