Thursday, January 8, 2009

Visa medical centres witness big rush

Visa medical centres witness big rush
By Dina El Shammaa, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: January 07, 2009

Abu Dhabi: Disease Prevention and Screening Centres in Abu Dhabi and Musafah under the Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) are experiencing long queues of applicants after announcing that medical checkups for visas will be done by them only.

They will offer extra services to keep up with an average of 3,000 people a day since they opened on January 5, Gulf News was told.

The first day witnessed a long queue of approximately 3,000 visa seekers and the number increased the next day to 3,200.

Dr Zainab Khazaal, the centres' manager, said that new and important steps are underway to ensure a smooth and fast experience for applicants.

One step is an express line for an extra Dh100 which will enable applicants to move rapidly through the process and this is due to begin in a few weeks.

Mobile clinics

"The procedure of taking the blood test, an X-ray and a general examination shouldn't take more than half an hour in the express line," she said.

Mobile clinics will also be introduced between June and September which will perform medical tests at a person's doorstep.

The long queues in the last few days were due to the time of the year, said Zainab. "It's the beginning of January, the beginning of the week and after a long vacation when both private and public companies were off, the large volume numbers were expected."


Before introducing medical checkup options for visa applicants, the centre operated from 7am to 3pm five days a week.

The timings increased from 7am to 6pm by November and again an extra hour was introduced in January (from 7am to 7pm six days a week, and on Saturdays by appointment only).

Ramesh Menon, who works in his company's paperwork legalisation process, said one of his co-workers arrived at the centre at 9am on Monday and waited in line without success.

"The next day she made it a point to reach the centre at 6.30am...she managed to finish everything by 11am, which given the pressure the centre is undergoing, is perfectly understandable," Menon said.


List of personnel

Staff members in the Abu Dhabi and Musafah Disease Prevention and Screening Centres:

- 15 screening physicians

- 13 X-ray technicians

-32 blood collection and laboratory staff

-30 clerks

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