Check for full text(opens in a new window) Library catalogue(opens in a new window) View at Publisher Export Download More... Qatar Medical Journal Volume 2014, Issue 2, 1 December 2014 Determinants of non-urgent Emergency Department attendance among females in Qatar (Article) Read, J.G.ab , Varughese, S.c, Cameron, P.A.cd a Health Services Research, Hamad Medical CorporationDoha, Qatar b Department of Sociology, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke UniversityDurham, United States c Emergency Medicine, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar d Emergency Medicine, Monash University, Australia View additional affiliations View references (23) Abstract Background: The use of emergency department (ED) services for non-urgent conditions is well-studied in many Western countries but much less so in the Middle East and Gulf region. While the consequences are universal-a drain on ED resources and poor patient outcomes-the causes and solutions are likely to be region and country specific. Unique social and economic circumstances also create genderspecific motivations for patient attendance. Alleviating demand on ED services requires understanding these circumstances, as past studies have shown. We undertook this study to understand why female patients with low-acuity conditions choose the emergency department in Qatar over other healthcare options. Setting and design: Prospective study at Hamad General Hospital s (HGH) emergency department female see-and-treat unit that treats low-acuity cases. One hundred female patients were purposively recruited to participate in the study. Three trained physicians conducted semi-structured interviews with patients over a three-month period after they had been treated and given informed consent. Results: The study found that motivations for ED attendance were systematically influenced by employment status as an expatriate worker. Forty percent of the sample had been directed to the ED by their employers, and the vast majority (89 ) of this group cited employer preference as the primary reason for choosing the ED. The interviews revealed that a major obstacle to workers using alternative facilities was the lack of a government-issued health card, which is available to all citizens and residents at a nominal rate. Conclusion: Reducing the number of low-acuity cases in the emergency department at HGH will require interventions aimed at encouraging patients with non-urgent conditions to use alternative healthcare facilities. Potential interventions include policy changes that require employers to either provide workers with a health card or compel employees to acquire one for themselves.