Ko Awatea has completed a project helping Qatar improve its continuing care services.
Working with the healthcare provider Hamad Medical Corporation, who delivered the project on behalf of Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health, Ko Awatea has developed a framework for rehabilitation services, long-term care services and home-based community services.
Counties Manukau Director of primary care and community Benedict Hefford who, together with Professor Harry Rea, helped design the framework was hopeful the engagement would lead to future opportunities within Qatar.
“There’s an acknowledged level of capability and expertise and we would welcome the opportunity to support Qatar further on their journey towards an integrated health system,” Mr Hefford says.
The Qatar project, which began in June 2014, was divided into two phases: identifying and presenting international best practice for continuing care; and developing a continuing care framework and a plan for a pilot.
Ko Awatea made one visit to Doha, Qatar, and hosted Qatari representatives twice at CMH.
Staff involved were operational and executive leadership and management teams, and clinicians from primary and secondary care services.
Ko Awatea engagement manager Katie Latimer says the work was challenging because of a deep-seated belief within Qatar that hospital is the best place to be treated.
“There was a reticence to move away from institutionalised care and there were very few options for step-up and step-down levels of care to transfer to,” Ms Latimer says.
In addition, Qatar has vastly different cultural beliefs, she says.
Care was taken by the CMH team prior to travelling to Qatar to fully understand the customs, dress code and traditions, and traditional greetings were well rehearsed prior to hosting the Qatari delegation in New Zealand, Ms Latimer explains.
Mr Hefford says the Hamad Medical Corporation has begun early implementation of the pilot, including auditing patients in hospitals to see where they may be able to be treated in community settings, as well as opening up some new facilities. “It is still very much in the early days,” he says.
Mr Hefford was most recently invited to Qatar in June for the launch of the National Continuing Care Strategy.
He says it was apparent during this visit, how much the area has grown in a relatively short time, accentuating the need for stronger community care services.
“Qatar is a very wealthy country and in financial terms their health system is well resourced, but it became clear to me on my visit that that doesn’t automatically create a skilled workforce, quality improvement systems, or a culture of community care. Qatar is however very much on the road to achieving all those things, and it’s great that we were able to provide them with some useful insights from the Counties experience.”