Health officials said the closure came after warnings to address staff shortage went unheeded.
Despite the fact that the 30-year-old hospital has been shut down for the past three days according to the nearby shopkeepers, patients, medical representatives and pharmacists unaware of the closure continued to visit the hospital on Sunday.
The hospital was popular among residents because of its affordable healthcare.
The closure, though temporary, is the first-of-its-kind for any private hospital in the emirate. Health ministry officials said the 60-bed hospital had been repeatedly issued warnings on shortage of staff and medical equipment.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Assistant Undersecretary at the ministry said the hospital had been closed for a shortage of its medical staff including specialist doctors, nurses and medical equipment.
“After inspectors found the shortcomings, a notice was issued and enough time was given for them to rectify their position but their response to this notice has not been forthcoming,” said Shaikh Mohammed who is also director of Sharjah Medical Zone.
“The ministry decided the hospital should remain closed until these concerns are addressed,” he said. It wasn’t clear if the patients’ medical files and advance payments would be returned.
According to some reports, in-patients at the hospital were moved to other private facilities in the emirate. However, out-patients, including women due to deliver and those who had delivered recently, remained shocked at the closure.
Pakistani Sajid Ali whose wife was due for a C-section is perplexed by the situation. “They gave no indication that they would be closing,” said Ali. “I have already paid Dh2,000 in advance for her surgery and now do not know where to take her. I don’t even know if any other hospital will be ready to take her case since her file is with the gynaecologist here,” he added.
Another Arab couple said they were yet to collect their newborn’s birth certificate and get the child vaccinated.
In 2010, Khaleej Times had run a story on the death of an unborn baby when the parents alleged that the hospital staff and the gynaecologist concerned had not run adequate tests on the pregnant mother. The couple had lodged a medical complaint with the ministry.
Last year, a British woman died of bleeding at the hospital soon after giving birth.
Calls to the hospital went unanswered while e-mails bounced back. The website continues to function claiming it provides multi-specialty services.
The agreement is the first bilateral trade deal between the Gulf and South America
Around 320 of 760 flights planned for Saturday had been cancelled so far