King Salman approves steps to improve health care in KSA

King Salman bin Abdulaziz chairing a cabinet meeting at Al-Safa palace in the holy Muslim city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

:: King Salman on Monday approved a number of decisions taken by the Saudi Health Council including the establishment of the National Center for Evidence-based Health Practice to improve health care services in the Kingdom. The center will work to consolidate an evidence-based work culture in the Saudi health sector.

The decisions are aimed at improving the quality of health services and raising the standard of the Saudi health sector.

It has been decided to unify codes for lab measurement units across the Kingdom. The executive plan of the program will be implemented in cooperation with all stakeholders to develop an integrated system of rules and regulations. The secretary-general of the Saudi Health Council, Dr. Nahar Al-Azmi, thanked King Salman for approving the decisions of the council. He said the approval reflects King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s keenness to improve the quality of life of the people of Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Al-Azmi also thanked Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, who is also president of the council, and other council members for their support and encouragement.

Under new rules, hospitals are not allowed to reject heart-related cases transported by the Saudi Red Crescent provided the health facilities are well-equipped to handle such cases.

Dr. Al-Azmi said regarding oncology services in the Kingdom, specialized hospitals and medical cities have been directed to activate a hub-and-spoke cooperation program. He said it will be implemented in two phases: In the first phase, oncology units in Arar, Madinah and Asir regions will be linked to specialized hospitals, and in the second phase, specialized hospitals will provide other health facilities — with the most referrals — with studies and relevant work plans.

The health council is also planning to implement a unified referral system to all services’ providers, whether governmental or nongovernmental bodies, to benefit from the referral program (Ihalati). The council will reportedly work on developing the system to meet the needs of these services.

It will also publish an index covering all services’ providers, to show the waiting time to accept the cases and the waiting time to provide medical advice on tumor cases.

The council will activate through the national center, the National Oncology Registry, publish the results regularly, and unify the protocols of treatment across the Kingdom.

The Saudi Health Council will also develop a mechanism to control the acquisition of radiotherapy and cyclotron machines, to ensure the process is done in accordance with the needs and standards of each region.

The National Center for Health Information will also set up an interactive platform for the Saudi Oncology Registry for researchers and will introduce training programs in oncology under the supervision of the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS).

The Council of Cooperative Health Insurance will also conduct a study on insurance controls to include oncology treatments.

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