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Medical staff facing military court

FORTY-seven medical staff have been charged with negligence and violating their professional duties.

Twenty-four doctors and 23 nurses and paramedics will be tried at a military court for their part in the takeover of Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) by anti-government protesters.

Authorities claim to have evidence, such as video footage and tampered documents that allegedly shows they refused to provide proper medical services to people in need.

Other charges facing them include the embezzlement of hospital funds, unauthorised possession of weapons and ammunition, enticing sectarian hatred, illegal detention, attempts to occupy buildings by force, dissemination of false news and participation in unauthorised rallies and meetings.

It was confirmed by Justice Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa and acting Health Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi during a Press conference at the Information Affairs Authority.

As those responsible for such violations had been banned from working at SMC, Dr Al Balooshi confirmed hospital procedures were running normally and occupancy rates had increased since the second week of March.

"Contrary to reports that SMC is empty because citizens are too scared to go for treatment there, I can confirm that hospital activities are gradually returning to normal, with a significant increase in admissions and occupancy," said the acting Health Minister.

A total of 406 admissions were recorded between March 14 and 20 and have increased to 626 as recorded last week, according to an official chart.

Occupancy dropped from 61 per cent during the second week of March to 52pc the following week.

It was recorded at 67pc last week. Accident and Emergency cases were reported at 1,769 between March 14 and 20 and have risen to 3,783 last week.

The total number of visits in March was 221,596 and this rose to 257,521 last month. "We are working very hard to regain trust of the people again to show that SMC is a safe place for both patients and staff," said Dr Al Balooshi.

She said the security of SMC had been guaranteed with the appointment of a private security company which is handling the hospital's checkpoint. Allegations of heavy and excessive security measures were also denied.

"Security is only being controlled in the vicinity of SMC, in order to preserve the status of national security," said Dr Al Balooshi.

"SMC was a special case as it was taken hostage and thus needs a degree of security in order for it to resume normal operations."

Dr Al Balooshi said the shortage of doctors and nurses due to those being investigated had not impacted SMC operations.

"All staff shortages are being covered and we are looking to recruit doctors from outside as well as more from Bahrain," she said.

"Bahrain produces excellent doctors and nurses and as a result, citizens should not be afraid to come to SMC for treatment."

The GDN previously reported the stealing of medical equipment and supplies by protesters.

As a result of missing items, the Health Ministry has carried out an inventory of items that disappeared from SMC which will be handed to authorities for further investigation.

"Some medium and large pieces of equipment have still not been found, as well as supplies of certain medicines such as painkillers Morphine and Petadine, and Atropin and Moxal," said Dr Al Balooshi.

Missing equipment included 28 ambulances, however, it was confirmed that 24 of these had been discovered and restored for future use.

Supplies have been replenished, allowing all citizens in Bahrain to receive correct medical treatment as required from any health centre, said Dr Al Balooshi.

The acting Health Minister also said that any allegations of human rights abuse would be investigated and that Bahrain remained open to international human rights organisations who wish to visit.

Such allegations or personal complaints from the public are being welcomed by the Health Ministry and can be sent directly to moh@gmail.com.



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