Turkey fights coronavirus outbreak with 17 new hospitals

As part of a Health Transformation Program launched in 2003, Turkey has increased the number of health facilities and policies aimed at providing better quality, accessible services. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, health investments further accelerated and new hospitals opened in many provinces and districts last year.

In 2020, a total of 17 large hospitals were built in nine provinces to provide uninterrupted health services. In this process, all medical facilities, especially the city hospitals, which stand out with their intensive care and bed capacities, played an active role in the country’s relatively successful struggle against COVID-19. Also last year, Lefkoşa Emergency Hospital with 100 beds and six operating rooms, built by the Health Ministry in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), was put into service during the fight against the pandemic.

The first new hospital opened last year was in the southern province of Mersin. Mersin University Oncology Hospital, built on 14,500 square meters (over 156,000 square feet) in Mediterranean region, opened on March 6, 2020, with a capacity of 150 beds. The Okmeydanı Training and Research Hospital in metropolitan province of Istanbul was rebuilt to be earthquake resistant and named after Dr. Cemil Taşçıoğlu, who died from complications related to COVID-19. Some 385 seismic insulators used in the construction of the hospital which began to receive patients on March 30, 2020, have the ability to absorb about 90% of the load in case of an earthquake so the hospital can still provide uninterrupted care in the event of a disaster. The hospital, which during normal periods has a capacity of 750 beds, is in use with 600 beds, 99 of which are allocated to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to the outbreak. Marmara University Pendik Training and Research Hospital Başıbüyük Additional Service Building came into service on April 8, 2020, in Istanbul. The hospital has a closed area of 113,000 square meters and hosts 535 patient beds, 62 emergency room observation beds, 29 operating rooms, 60 adult intensive care beds with Level 3 ventilators, nine intensive care isolation rooms and 195 outpatient rooms. Erzurum City Hospital, located in the country’s eastern province of Erzurum and one of the most important health projects in eastern Anatolia and considered the region’s health base, was established on an area of 400,000 square meters and was opened on May 18, 2020. The city hospital has a total of 914 patient rooms, of which 786 are single and 128 double.

Başakşehir Çam and Sakura City Hospital in Istanbul, built on an area of 789,000 square meters with a closed space of 1.21 million square meters, opened on May 21, 2020. The hospital, consisting of 10 blocks with three heliports, has a total capacity of 2,682 beds, 456 of which are intensive care beds. In the hospital, there are four separate emergency departments, including adult, child, trauma and obstetrics, within 30,000 square meters of closed area. The hospital has 725 outpatient rooms and 90 operating rooms, a capacity that can accept 35,000 outpatients per day. Built on an area of 125,000 square meters in the Sancaktepe district of Istanbul, Prof. Dr. Feriha Öz Emergency Hospital provides health services on an area of 75,000 square meters and opened on May 29, 2020. Each room of the hospital with a capacity of 1,008 beds can be converted into an intensive care unit at will. In addition to the 16 operating rooms, the medical facility has 576 en suite patient bedrooms, 432 intensive care beds, 36 emergency observation beds, eight triage rooms, four computerized tomography machines (CT), four magnetic resonance imaging machines (MRI) and two X-ray rooms. Yeşilköy Prof. Dr. Murat Dilmener Emergency Hospital was built on a total area of 125,000 square meters in Istanbul and opened on May 31, 2020. The hospital with a closed area of 75,000 square meters, has a total of 1,008 beds, which can be converted to intensive care when needed. Some 432 of these beds are already in the intensive care unit (ICU). The hospital also has 16 operating rooms. Dr. İsmail Niyazi Kurtulmuş Hospital, which started serving on the same day in Istanbul, is based on 23 acres of land and has a closed area of 4,500 square meters. The hospital provides services with 101 beds, 59 of which are in intensive care. Marmara University Prof. Dr. Asaf Ataseven Hospital, which started to operate on June 20, 2020, at the university’s Başıbüyük Campus in Istanbul, had treated thousands of patients during the pandemic. The hospital, with a closed area of 113,000 square meters, has 155 outpatient clinics, 60 intensive care beds out of a total of 530 beds and 28 operating rooms. Kartal Dr. Lütfi Kırdar City Hospital, which opened on July 4 in Istanbul, has a 1,105-bed capacity, space for 145 in the intensive care, 250 outpatient clinics, 45 operating rooms and 110 emergency observation beds. Göztepe Prof. Dr. Süleyman Yalçın City Hospital came into service on Sept. 5, 2020, as Istanbul’s fourth city hospital. The number of beds in the hospital will increase from 786 to 1,146 with the completion of the second phase of the health complex.

Bilecik State Hospital in the eponymous western province began to receive patients on Sept. 6, 2020, and has 87 outpatient clinics, 11 operating rooms built to international standards and a total of 44 intensive care beds, including 27 for adults and 17 for newborns. Konya City Hospital, located in central province of Konya, opened on Oct. 2, 2020, and has a total of 1,250 beds, 256 of which are intensive care, 108 emergency and 30 allocated for dialysis. The hospital, which has 380 outpatient clinics and 49 operating rooms, has 73 imaging rooms, 442 single beds, 272 two-bed rooms as well as eight suites. Tekirdağ İsmail Fehmi Cumalioğlu City Hospital in the country’s northwestern region was inaugurated on Nov. 13, 2020, and has 566 beds, 124 outpatient clinics, 18 operating rooms, and 102 intensive care beds. Lefkoşa Emergency Hospital, built by the Health Ministry on 20,000 square meters of land in the TRNC, opened on Nov. 15, 2020. The hospital, which has a closed area of about 14,000 square meters, has 24 intensive care beds, 64 patient beds in single rooms, 12 emergency observation beds with a total of 100 beds and six operating rooms. In its new building, Bayburt State Hospital, which began admitting patients on Nov. 30, 2020, in the northeastern province, has a capacity of 200 beds. Giresun University Training and Research Hospital in Black Sea region opened on Dec. 7, 2020, with a total capacity of 350 beds. Batman Training and Research Hospital with a capacity of 810 beds, which was inaugurated on Dec. 16, 2020, was built on an area of 90,000 square meters in the eponymous southeastern province. The hospital has 18 operating rooms and 130 intensive care beds.

In addition to the large hospitals built in the provinces, modern hospital buildings were also built in the districts to provide better, more efficient health care. Menteşe State Hospital in the southwestern province of Muğla, which has been renovated, began admitting patients on May 16, 2020. The hospital has a capacity of 100 beds. Ferizli District State Hospital’s new service building was opened in northwestern province of Sakarya, on July 25, 2020. Andırın State Hospital in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş, began treating patients in its new building on Aug. 5, 2020. The hospital, which has a closed area of 7,675 square meters, has a capacity of 30 beds in total. Adana Ceyhan State Hospital, located in southern province of Adana, with a total closed area of 43,728 square meters and 285 beds was opened for service on Sept. 21, 2020. In country’s northwest, Kırklareli Lüleburgaz State Hospital’s new building with a total of 300 beds opened on Nov. 4, 2020. Vezirköprü State Hospital, built in the country’s Black Sea province of Samsun, has a capacity of 200 beds and was opened on Nov. 23, 2020. Construction of Sason State Hospital in southeastern province of Batman was completed, and it began admitting patients on Dec. 18, 2020, with a capacity of 50 beds.


Health Ministry data shows that a total of 678 hospitals were built in the country in 2003-2020. In March-November 2020, during the fight against the pandemic, 12,350 beds were added to the country’s total patient capacity, including 4,830 in newly opened medical facilities, 4,286 in additional service buildings, 1,462 in medical facilities that moved to new buildings and 1,772 in existing hospitals. During the same period, 3,427 beds were added to intensive care units of which 3,144 were for adults, 125 for children and 158 for newborns under COVID-19 measures.

The construction of another 54 hospitals is expected to be completed this year.

City hospitals, which bring together a cluster of different hospitals under one roof in densely populated areas, are the flagship of hospital reforms in the country. With their high staff numbers and state-of-the-art facilities offering free treatment, they helped the country cope with a barrage of cases. Currently, 17 city hospitals serve across the country. The city hospital project is part of the government’s goal to increase bed capacity and address a shortage of doctors in cities with a high population density. They are mainly located in suburban areas and are operated on a private-public partnership model. They are leased to private companies, and the government pays a fee for medical imaging, laboratories, security, maintenance and health care workers’ salaries.

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