Saturday, May 17, 2008

Some Things I Won't Miss

There are some things I won't miss when I leave the UAE.

For example, I won't miss having to deal with people over the telephone. Here's what happened when I telephoned the only available number I could find for Al Noor Hospital last Thursday:

  • I dial the number 7667666 ...

  • "Yes" says the person at the end

  • "Is that Al Noor Hospital?

  • "Yes"

  • "I'd like to make an appointment to see a doctor"

  • "Wait" Click and then I hear another line calling ...

  • "Yes"

  • "I'd like to make an appoint ..."

  • Click and another line is calling ...

  • "Al Noor Hospital"

  • "I'd like to make an appointment"

  • "What for?"

  • "To see a doctor (I think: what other $&*^%$# types of appointments do you have)?"

  • "You don't need an appointment. Where are you ... just come in?"

  • "Okay, thank you."

This is fairly normal in the UAE, but the Al Noor Hospital is a huge concern with a large complement of well qualified medical people covering almost every discipline; they can do earhole surgery to extract your brain, remove a tumour and push it all back in; they can fix broken hearts etc, and the ENT specialist who fixed my hearing problem was excellent.

My question is: If they can afford to outfit the hospital with the best medical equipment and specialists available on the planet, why can't they hire someone who can design, implement and monitor an appointment system and staff to run it?

Then there's the idiot drivers ... I've mentioned them previously. I won't miss them driving left to right across my path to turn right and all the other ills they perform that are life threatening.

Water wastage is horrifying here and it bothers me every time I see it. When you come from an arid zone like Central Australia, water discipline is second nature. Although we aren't short of water, if we overused the aquifer, we could be, so we look after our water supply. It's also expensive, so it's not good economics to waste it.

Here, I see water wastage every day. Just the automatic taps in washrooms (toilets) must lose hundreds of thousands of kiloLitres every day. Indian expats, who come from a country where water is abundant, leave hoses running and water gardens in the middle of the heat. I see overflowing tanks and water trucks washing footpaths with water.

Given that most of the water at Al Ain is produced in desalination plants up the coast, the consumption here also has a negative affect on such things as salt levels in the landmass and in the sea.

There is a long way to go in sustainable development.

The dusty skies here are quite a contrast to the blue, stark skies of home ... I won't miss them and have often wondered how much sand I have sucked in in three years. It doesn't seem to effect anyone, but I still wonder, given that sand is silica and silica grows crystals. Huuuum.



Aussie said...

Maybe Al Noor hospital can perform a crystal-ectomy for you before you leave. That'd be a bonus.

I can't get used to the fact that the Yellowpages is useless, there are no street directories and that no-one uses street names.

You are right about the water. It's horrifying.

Robin said...

I had another disheartening experience at ADBC this morning. The only details they had correct about me were my last name, nationality and occupation.

Everything else, religion, first name, address at home and work were completely incorrect, as though entered from someone else's application.

There's a long way to go.

Melanie Nelson said...

I just had my first hospital experience in the UAE at National Hospital in Abu Dhabi. It was a breeze to get in to see a specialist and the cost was less than a co-pay back in the U.S. But before sending me to get blood work done, the doctor said very frankly "If you need treatment, you should get it back in the U.S. You come here to work, not to get sick."

Robin said...


Some of the Middle Eastern types here have a slightly different sense of humour from us.

I would have told him to mind his own business and focus on giving advice that I've paid him for.

I've found the medical support here superior to Australia and much cheaper, but then I haven't had to undergo life-threatening surgery ... I'd probably want to do that back home.


jeanette said...

Thanks for the "heads up". Our insurance coordinator noted the comments and passed them on this afternoon to the hospital Quality Department.
You are correct. That shouldn't happen and a new system and procedure was initiated in July.
Hopefully we will soon have the same quality in our appointment staff. Training is ongoing.
So sorry for your inconvenience.

Robin said...


If my comments help you improve your otherwise excellent service, that will be a heartening bonus for me.