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Hike in expats healthcare fees eyed KD 5 – KD 10 from KD 1 or KD 2 – ‘Law soon to end attacks on doctors, entire crew’

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KUWAIT CITY, July 17: Minister of Health Dr Jamal Al-Harbi revealed that Ministry of Public Works will hand over Jaber Hospital to Ministry of Health within three-four months.

He indicated that the operation of the new hospital will begin gradually, starting with the administration, followed by the outpatient clinics, internal wards, pediatrics, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and then finally the surgery units.

Regarding the phenomenon of doctors being treated aggressively, the minister explained that the ministry has urged the Parliament to issue a law in this regard. This was discussed during a meeting of the medical committee shortly following the case of the manager of Amiri Hospital facing aggression.

The request is still pending for the passing of such a law which will not only protect doctors but also the entire medical crew. He revealed that the ministry has also asked Ministry of Interior to provide hospitals with securitymen especially in the reception areas where majority of cases of aggression occur. Regarding increasing the charges of medical services for expatriates, Minister Al- Harbi said, “The cost incurred by Ministry of Health for providing health services is too much. Expatriate visitors receive medicines and even surgeries at very low cost in comparison to the costs in their own countries. Expatriate residents receive medical attention for as low as KD 1 or KD 2”.

He went on to say, “We have prepared a study to increase the charges of medical services based on each case. The charges for medical services in hospitals will range from KD 5 – KD 10. For some humanitarian cases, the charges will be KD 1 – KD 5”. Minister Al-Harbi revealed that about 60 percent of the patients who seek medical services in hospitals do not really need to visit the hospitals and can receive treatment at clinics itself, insisting that this increases the load on doctors and medical facilities in hospitals, which handle almost 1,000 cases per day.

He affirmed that the study has taken into consideration the difference in the charges paid by a patient who seeks treatment for a cold and one who suffers from a serious disease.

Al-Harbi indicated that the ministry has been coordinating with the Health Insurance Company regarding provision of medical services to expatriates in the hospitals of the company.

He stressed that the company is taking necessary steps to obtain approvals from all relevant state bodies, affirming that such a move will reduce the pressure faced in hospitals of the ministry. The minister assured that Ministry of Health will supervise the medical services offered to expatriates in the hospitals of Health Insurance Company.

Meanwhile, Al-Harbi highlighted the interest he has in fulfilling the requests of doctors particularly their financial requests. He explained that he recently held a meeting with the Assistant Undersecretary for Technical Affairs at Ministry of Health and a delegation from Kuwait Medical Association as well as some doctors. During the meeting, they discussed the requests of doctors concerning their salary packages. More meetings in this regard will be held in the near future.

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