EDITORIAL: King Faisal Hospital’s woes can be brought to an end

The management of King Faisal Hospital is back in the Government’s hands once more after it cancelled a management contract it had with an Angolan company, Oshen.

Had the hospital been a person, it would have fallen into severe depression. As the premier reference hospital in the country, it has had a string of mixed fortunes. There was a time when the hospital was only kept afloat by the presence of military doctors who manned crucial departments because of lack of enough qualified professionals.

King Faisal’s woes can be traced back more than a decade ago when a South African firm, Netcare, took over management. The hospital underwent a severe makeover and there was some hope that we were about to get a world-class healthcare institution. It was misplaced hope.

Medical bills shot through the roof, a pinch that was felt even by people who had medical cover from institutions such as RAMA. The long-awaited transformation into a first-class hospital was never to be. Instead, those with complications flew to Kenya or India as is the case today.

With Oshen out of the way, it is time the Government brought this perennial management merry-round to an end. It could be forgiven that a few years ago it was still trying to put its house in order, building institutions and still trying to find its way through the management maze of state institutions.

Today, that excuse cannot hold, the road is clear and good monitoring mechanisms are in place. There is no reason why the Government cannot hold on to the hospital and run it like any other parastatal. It has the right tools to run the institution smoothly, the first one being accountability– the calling card of this administration. Efficiently running and upgrading the hospital should be a walk in the park.

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