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Bahrain minister vows to build trust

Manama, February 28, 2011

'Regrettable' incidents at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) in the wake of clashes between protesters and police will never happen again, Bahrain's new Health Minister has pledged.

The objective is to build confidence among medical staff and patients, said Dr Nazar Al Baharna during his first visit to the hospital less than 24 hours after he was appointed.

Dr Al Baharna said a full investigation into all incidents was being carried out to identify shortcomings, after which corrective steps would be taken.

'There were many things that happened during the incidents on February 17 and 18, and even after that,' he told our sister newpaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).

'These are extremely regrettable and should not have happened. I am taking steps to ensure such incidents never happen again.'

Dr Al Baharna, who replaced Dr Faisal Al Hamer on Saturday, said his immediate priority was confidence-building among medical staff and patients.

'My role is to ensure medical staff is at hand at all times in all circumstances to take care of patients, whoever and wherever they might be,' he said.

The minister said that a probe committee headed by Deputy Premier Jawad Al Arrayed would look into all incidents at the hospital as well as those involving paramedics who were reportedly assaulted at the Pearl Roundabout.

'I have had several reports on which I cannot comment as of yet,' he said.

'However, I am taking steps so that all staff are able to perform their duties without any fear or hindrance.'

Dr Al Baharna said that the incidents had been an eye-opener for everybody.

'We will take note of what happened at the hospital and will ensure we plug all loopholes,' he said.

The minister was accompanied by ministry hospital affairs assistant under-secretary Dr Ameen Al Sa'ati and SMC chief executive officer Dr Waleed Al Man'aa.

He met with paramedics chief Syed Marhoon and other staff who were reportedly assaulted, those injured and other Accident and Emergency Department officials.

Dr Al Baharna also met two injured protesters who were recuperating at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and others who were under treatment at other wards.

He called on consultant Dr Sadiq Al Ekri, who is recuperating in a private ward after he was reportedly severely beaten on February 17.

Dr Al Baharna later met some of the protesters who have been camping outside the SMC for the last 10 days and shared tea with them.

He assured them about several steps the ministry was taking to address all their concerns.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | government | SMC | protests |

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