The six East Jerusalem hospitals have had an historic role in the development of the Palestinian health care system and training of health professionals. They have been the main providers of tertiary referral care for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for health services for which the Ministry of Health is unable to provide, such as cancer care, cardiac and eye surgeries, neonatal intensive care, children’s dialysis and physical rehabilitation of children.
Ministry of Health referrals today represent more than half of inpatient referrals to the East Jerusalem hospitals. The hospitals were organized into the East Jerusalem Hospital Network in 2003. The WHO project, “East Jerusalem Hospitals: Network for Quality,” supported by the European Union since 2008 and having recently received a grant of Euro (€) 2.4 million, is providing support to the further development and strengthening of the network to ensure greater collaboration, coordination and information-sharing among the facilities to improve the quality of services and patient safety.
The East Jerusalem Hospital Network is comprised of: Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital, Augusta Victoria Hospital, Red Crescent Maternity Hospital, St John’s Eye Hospital, Princess Basma Rehabilitation Centre and St Joseph’s Hospital. An office for the network was established in 2011, located in the Red Crescent Society Hospital.
A network advocacy committee was established in late 2011 to address issues of common concern, such as access of patients and staff into Jerusalem via checkpoints, and to conduct community outreach activities to promote health education in Jerusalem neighbourhoods.
First Annual East Jerusalem Hospital Network conference, 8–9 December 2011
More than 300 health professionals participated in the first-ever conference of the Eastern Jerusalem Hospitals Network, organized to raise awareness about the 6-member hospital network and its vital specialized services to the local and international community and staff from hospitals in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Keynote speakers included the former Minister of Health, Dr Fathi Abu Moghli, and Dr Rafiq Husseini, an early initiator of the network. Hospital representatives made presentations on their facilities and clinical and research specialties.
Press release on the first annual conference of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network [pdf 219Kb]
Toward Joint Commission accreditation
After three years of preparation undertaken with the technical support of WHO and supported by the European Union, the East Jerusalem hospitals will be the first in occupied Palestinian territory to attempt international accreditation by the US-based Joint Commission, in addition to its ISO certification. The Joint Commission makes on-site visits to evaluate hospitals and assigns three-year international accreditation to those that meet their stringent standards for physical facilities and clinical and non-clinical services for patient and staff safety and quality of care. The East Jerusalem hospitals are scheduled to be assessed in early 2012.The East Jerusalem Hospital Network Quality Committee meets regularly to share information and exchange lessons learned in implementing Joint Commission requirements.
Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Initiative
WHO is working with the Ministry of Health of the occupied Palestinian territory to implement the Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Initiative. In 2011, the Ministry nominated two governmental hospitals to participate in the Initiative – Qalqilya Hospital and the Palestine Medical Complex. WHO facilitated an assessment of each facility and development of an action plan in order to ensure implementation of the Patient Saftey Friendly Hospital Initiative standards.