Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 55-60

Status of respiratory care profession in Saudi Arabia: A national survey

Assistant Professor of Respiratory Care, College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ghazi Alotaibi
Assistant Professor of Respiratory Care, College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Dammam
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.146878

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Background: Respiratory care (RC) is an allied health profession that involves assessing and treating patients who have pulmonary diseases. Research indicates that respiratory therapists' (RT's) involvement in caring for patients with respiratory disorders improves important outcome measures. In Kingdome of Saudi Arabia (KSA), RC has been practiced by RTs for more than 30 years. Objective: We sought to investigate the status of the RC workforce in Saudi Arabia in terms of demographic distribution, number, education, and RC service coverage. Methods: We used a specially designed survey to collect data. A list of 411 working hospitals in KSA was obtained. All hospitals were contacted to inquire if RC is practiced by RTs. Data were collected from hospitals that employ RTs. Results: Only 88 hospitals, 21.4% of total hospitals in the country, have RTs. Out of the 244 Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals, only 31 hospitals (12.7%) employ RTs. There are 1,477 active RTs in KSA. Twenty-five percent of them, or 371, are Saudis. The majority of the RT workforce (60%) work for non-MOH government hospitals, and almost half the total RTs work in Riyadh province. About 60% of RTs work in critical care settings. RC coverage of critical care was 44.5% of ideal. The overall RT-to-ICU bed ratio was 1:11. The ratio was 1:9 for non-MOH government hospitals, and 1:20 for MOH hospitals. Conclusions: We report the first insightful data on RC workforce in KSA. These data should be used by educational institutions and health policy makers to plan better RC coverage in the country.

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