The International Medical Affairs Office (IMAO) was established following the publication of the Emiri Decree No (51) in 2012. In this decree the responsibility for the medical components of the Treatment Abroad Program were transferred to Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), with the administrative responsibility being retained by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH). The changes came into effect on 1 April 2013. These changes created an important opportunity for HMC to make a valuable and significant contribution to the Treatment Abroad Program and to the overall quality of treatment and experience of Qatari patients.

Foundation and infrastructure
The HMC Committee for Treatment Abroad (HCTA) was established under Emiri Decree No (51) in 2012 to organize medical treatment abroad. HCTA comprises of eight senior HMC clinicians nominated by HMC’s Managing Director, Hanan Al Kuwari PhD, in January 2013. Another group consisting of eight committee members has been assigned to oversee Diwan requests. The IMAO has been established within HMC to be responsible for liaising with all overseas hospitals, and evaluating all treatment abroad requests submitted by Qatari patients alongside with referrals submitted by the HMC subcommittee.
The IMAO is responsible for clinical approvals of requests for treatment abroad from HMC and also for establishing and maintaining HMC International Clinical Partnership arrangements, which includes HMC’s international visiting consultant program. During the first year the office has been able to review all existing partnership arrangements and where appropriate these have either been extended or terminated, depending upon the circumstances and whether benefits to patients have been achieved. Whilst the achievements of the first year have been significant, the year ahead presents a new set of challenges and opportunities, as the IMAO works more closely with the Supreme Council of Health to unify the Treatment Abroad Program and achieve the goals set out in the National Health Strategy (NHS) of the Qatar National Vision 2030.