The Shortage of Healthcare Professionals in Saudi Arabia - Research Paper Example

2021-07-26 20:24:06
7 pages
1764 words
University/College: 
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Sebai, 2001 in an article described the development of the health system by looking at the past situation, present and predicts the future of the development of the Quality of health care services being delivered to patients.  Sebai, 2001 states that the health services system has developed tremendously over the last two decades. This has been proven by the availability of the health care facilities across the entire kingdom therefore increasing access to quality health care services. The development in the health system of Saudi Arabia has enabled the government of Saudi Arabia to provide over 60% of the services in the Kingdom and the remaining 40% is shared among the private sector and other government agencies. The development in the infrastructure such as laboratory services and medical equipment has been the leading factor in that has ensured improvement in the quality of Medicare provide.. The development in health system has also been evident in the improvement in the training of the Saudi Health manpower which has made them acquire more modern and current training therefore enabling them to provide quality health care services to citizens. In the future Sebia , 2001 states that Saudi Arabia will have to improve on the management of the health care facilities, improve financing of the health care services, maintained the balance between the preventive and curative services and increase the manpower needed to deliver services to the people which will eventually translate into the delivery of quality health care.

Sebia, 2001 goes on and provided statistical information on the past information of the health care system development in Saudi Arabia. In the year 1970 the country had a small number of medical staff approximately 111 doctors and about 100 hospital beds. As compared to the year 1970 the number of doctors has increased 25 times by the year 1998 therefore granting access to quality health care. Additionally, since the year 1970 government health spending increased to about 6.2 percent of the national budget. Medical training has also increased and a good number of doctors and dentist graduated from medical college by the year 1998.

According to Sebai, 2011 currently in Saudi Arabia approximately 60% of services are free in charge in government hospitals. Another 20% of the free medical services are also provided through private and other government agencies. In the year 1998 the budget allocation for the health care sector was approximately 10% therefore ensuring that the services offered are of good quality. This development in health care sector has also involved the development of a good health care information system which has eventually increased to quality of services being offered in Saudi Arabia.

As of 1998 according to statistics the percentage of Saudi Arabian doctors, nurses and paramedics have increased gradually from 18% to 43% as of the year 1998, therefore, increasing service provision to the citizens of Saudi Arabia (Sebai, 2011). However, this is not sufficient due to the rapid population growth in the country. It is also estimated that due to the government efforts to increase the number of health professionals in the kingdom will be more than 15226 doctors representing more than 52% of the required manpower. This will, therefore, reduce the countries dependency to expatriates to fill the gap in the medical worker's manpower (Sebai, 2011).

Similarly, due to the shortage of nurses in the country, the government put in place measure to ensure that the number of nurses increases to meet the health needs of citizens (Sebai, 2011). The government has been forced to partner with the private sector so as to increase the training of nurses in the country (Sebai, 2011). The government of Saudi Arabia believes that the need for the increase of healthcare workers in important but the quality of training that they receive is equally important so as to ensure that as the trained nurses enter the health workforce they are able to deliver the best quality of services that will meet the needs of citizens, therefore, increasing the quality of healthcare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Sebai, 2011). The government in the year 2002 adopted the quality assurance program to ensure that all health training institutes offer the best quality of training to the health professionals to ensure that they deliver the best quality of services when they join the health workforce. The medical curriculum of Saudi Arabia has also been customized so as to meet the core health needs of the people of Saudi Arabia (Sebai, 2011).

In the past three decades, access to health care has improved drastically in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Aljuaid, 2016 states that this increased access to health care has been occasioned by the increase in the quality of healthcare services that have been caused by the improved organization of the staff and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has come up with policies that aim at improving the quality and standard of the health care services in the entire kingdom. According to Aljuaid, 2016 one of the core pillars of this policy is the measurement of the patient satisfaction is important to ensure that patients have access to quality healthcare services. Additionally, the policy states that access to health care services is one of the indicators of a quality health care system.

The overall definition of quality health care system in Saudi Arabia is the offering of health services that meet the needs of the patients that need it the most at a low cost (Aljuaid, 2016). Adopting quality improvement method is one of the methods to ensure that the people of Saudi Arabia have access to quality healthcare. This article by Aljuaid, 2016 recognizes that the development of healthcare system and the achievement of the quality healthcare service delivery were achieved over time through organized efforts of the facility itself and external mechanism that is public pressure.

To be able to achieve quality healthcare services Saudi Arabia over time has developed seven strategies that will enable the country to improve the quality of healthcare (Aljuaid, 2016). They included aligning the organizational process with the interest of the public, ensuring that quality is key in service delivery, implementation of systems that cut across the organization that will improve the quality of healthcare, departmental level interventions also referred to in-house cleaning, organizing quality care paths, development of a good information system and conducting regular assessments (Aljuaid, 2016).

In the last 30, as stated by Aljuaid, 2016, years, the number of healthcare facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has risen to 268 hospitals covering 60% of healthcare services. Private hospitals and other agencies share the remaining 40% among themselves. The availability of many hospitals in the kingdom ensures that patients have access to quality healthcare services due to lack of condition in the hospitals. On the other hand, universities have come up with referral hospitals and research centers which ensure that the quality of health care services being offered is sufficient (Aljuaid, 2016).

As stated by Almalki, 2011 over the last three decades, the government of Saudi Arabia has prioritized the development of health care system both in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. This has therefore translated into the provision of the best quality services in the Kingdom. Furthermore Almalki, 2011 over this period the Kingdom has been able to address challenges such as shortage of health professionals, limited finances, the change in the disease patterns, cost of health provision, and poor accessibility to health care services, lack of health information system and the lack of sufficient emergency response equipments therefore increasing the quality of healthcare in the kingdom. M. Almalki, 2011, in this review, outlines the developments that have taken place and their impact on the improving the quality of health services offered to the people.

Additionally Almalki, 2011, after the establishment of the public health department in the year 1925 by the Royal King, a lot of transformation has taken place since then. This department was formed with the sole mandate of improving the health status of the general population and also tasked with the establishment of some hospitals and dispensaries (Almalki, 2011). As important as this was to improve the quality of healthcare in Saudi Arabia the people had difficulties in accessing the healthcare services, therefore, the need to introduce free healthcare services, therefore, increasing the quality of healthcare services further. After the establishment of the MOH by the Royal King from the year 1965 there has been tremendous development and improvement of the healthcare system (Almalki, 2011).

According to this review by Almalki, 2011, due to the developments that have taken place in this sector the government through MOH has become the major provider of healthcare services. The 244 government hospitals with 33,277 beds and 2037 primary health care established have ensured that the people of Saudi Arabia have access to the health healthcare services. The government has established referral hospitals, security forces medical services unit, the Saudi Arabia army medical services, National Guard health affairs department, and teaching and referral hospitals for Universities, and partnered with organizations such as Red Cross for emergency health services provision (Almalki, 2011). This kind of spread in the healthcare sector has ensured every citizen has access to health care services of the best quality (Almalki, 2011).

Over the past three decades, the Saudi Arabia government has been grappling with the shortage of healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists (Almalki, 2011). Many of the healthcare professionals in Saudi Arabia were from other countries, and the turnover and the regular instability in the healthcare workforce was common (Almalki, 2011). According to the statistics in the year 1990, the entire kingdom of Saudi Arabia had approximately 248, 000 health workers of which only 125,000 worked in the Ministry of Health. Only 38% of the health workers were Saudi Arabia nationals. This statistics additionally show that the rate of the health professionals to the population was16 to 10,000 for physicians and 36 to 10,000 for nurses (Almalki, 2011).

After this challenge in the healthcare workforce, the government of Saudi Arabia made it a priority to attract more citizens to join medical training school and improve on the activities aimed at retaining health care providers to work in Saudi Arabia (Almalki, 2011). The government has put in place efforts to ensure that more Saudi Arabia residents have training in health. Since 1968 a good number of medical, nursing and health schools have been opened across the Kingdom. Since then to now there are 173 colleges of medicine, health and nursing and four research centers. The training aims at producing a large number of health professionals to fill the gap (Almalki, 2011).

The government, also, increased the budget allocation for training and scholarships for the ministry of health employees to give them the chance to further their studies and be professionals (Almalki, 2011). This strategy was put in place by the government to improve skills among healthcare workers and reduce the loss of health workers to other countries (Almalki...

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