60% dip in expats visiting clinics – New fees leave expats in disarray

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 21: The number expatriates visiting public clinics and hospitals decreased remarkably up to 60 percent decline in some public health facilities — more than 48 hours after the Ministry of Health increased fees for medicines prescribed for expatriates, quoting sources from the health sector.

Sources disclosed that the number of visitors in some clinics, which used to serve about 1,200 patients per day, decreased by 50 percent on the day the decision was issued; while the recent number did not exceed 400 and about 100 individuals registered for medical examinations without getting the prescribed medicines.

Sources added the diabetes clinics did not witness a significant change in the number of visitors. While affirming that the number of visitors in accident departments in public hospitals was not affected, sources explained it is too early to assess the impact of the decision, especially in hospitals, where a thorough study must be conducted to establish statistics on the number of patients before and after the implementation of the decision.

Sources said the decision surprised employees in various sectors in the ministry; hence, the confusion in implementation, prompting officials in each sector to hold a meeting with the concerned employees in order to lay down a plan for the full implementation of the decision. Sources added this also led to confusion among expatriate workers, especially the non-Arabic speakers, who were not aware that the decision was implemented immediately after issuance; so they had no choice but to pay the new fees. By Al-Seyassah / Arab Times daily

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