Dear KAUST Community,
I want to take an opportunity to thank you for your support of KAUST Health during the pandemic and update you on some of the service changes you can expect in the coming period.
As we all know, COVID-19 has posed a serious challenge globally, especially for healthcare providers. Throughout this period, along with our core services, KAUST Health has supported the community with a range of COVID-19 related activities. We appreciate the support that the community has shown to our teams during this time, especially during the exceptionally busy periods where access to services might not have been as expected.
Access to quality core health and wellbeing services remain a primary focus as we emerge from this crisis. To ensure these services remain high quality we are continually addressing areas for improvement. Please find below an outline of some of the changes which you can expect in the coming period.
Specialty Service changes
The provision of quality specialist healthcare in the region, and especially in North Jeddah, has improved greatly since KAUST was first founded. With this increasing service availability, and KAUST's focus on optimization, KAUST Health will direct its resources on core primary services, working within the budget we are allocated. As needed, community members will now access the majority of specialist services outside of KAUST.
This change has several key benefits:
- KAUST Health will focus efforts on providing quality core primary care services
- Enables access to specialty services in a more timely manner: The services in Jeddah are available every day, rather than once a week or fortnight.
- Wider range of specialty care providers: Jeddah has a wide range of specialists so you can select the specialist who best suits your needs.
Starting July 1, 2021, KAUST Health will provide the following services:
- Family Medicine
- General Dentistry and Hygiene
- Physical Therapy and Rehab
- Orthodontic and Pediatric Dentistry
- Diagnostics and Laboratory services
Travel time to the new Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Medical Centre is less than an hour with free parking available. Additional free Jeddah medical buses will be available throughout the day and many providers now have virtual consultations available for some appointment types.
Family Medicine and Dental Appointments
We are aware of the challenges faced by some community members in accessing appointments in a timely manner, and I apologize for any frustration and inconvenience these delays might have caused.
With regard to Family Medicine appointments, measures to improve these waiting times have been implemented including:
- Moving to 15-minute appointments – this has created an additional 130 appointments per week
- Amending the process for some aspects of administration – this has created an additional 45 appointments per week
- Introducing 'same day' appointments for people to access Family Medicine with an immediate need – these are only available to book by phone on the day of the appointment
These steps have helped to reduce waiting times for a Family Medicine appointments to around 5 or 6 days.
For Dental services, appointment times have been reduced to increase capacity, for example 1 hour hygiene appointments are now 40 minutes. This has helped reduce waiting times in general dentistry to 3-4 weeks and in hygiene to 6-7 weeks.
We are committed to monitoring and maintaining improvements to ensure you can access the services you need, when you need them. We also plan to engage with the community soon to solicit feedback on strategies for reducing waiting times further.
Be part of the solution
Patients not showing up for their appointments are particularly costly for KAUST Health. No show rates in most services are 5-6% of available appointments and in dentistry this rises to 10-11%. These unused appointment times waste valuable resources and contribute to increased waiting times.
Currently, you will be deducted 100 SR if you have missed your appointment time or if you arrive late. However, this is nowhere near the financial loss KAUST Health incurs for each missed appointment. We are undertaking a review of 'no show' fees and we will be inviting community members to participate in helping to develop a solution to reduce wasted appointments.
We appreciate that circumstances change sometimes even at short notice, but please do cancel your appointment if you know you cannot attend so that we can make it available for someone else.
The team who you see and liaise with in KAUST Health have been working incredibly hard to deliver the best services to the KAUST community. I want to extend a heartfelt 'thank you' to the KAUST Health team and our partners in DSFH for their commitment and dedication in such an unprecedented time.
Finally, thank you to every member of the KAUST community for your continued support throughout this difficult time.
Director, KAUST Health