Minister refutes rumor on resignation

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 3: Health Minister Dr Jamal Al-Harbi has denied rumors spread on various media platforms that he intends to resign. Speaking on the sidelines of his meeting with assistant undersecretaries and directors of health districts Monday, Al-Harbi disclosed that exemptions from the new medical fees for expatriates will be expanded to include patients in critical condition who need to be confined in the intensive care units for surgery, internal medicine, heart diseases and children. He affirmed the heads of concerned departments and directors of hospitals have been instructed to take decisions in this regard.

He said the Bedouns holding expired security cards are exempted from the new medical fees within one month after the expiration of their security cards. He clarified that after one month, these Bedouns must present the renewed security cards when availing medical services.

He also unveiled a plan to study the recommendation to exempt patients, who need to stay in the hospital for a long period, from the new fee — KD 10 per day. He enumerated other exemptions such as the expatriates’ children who are below 12 years old and suffering from cancer and deformations, husbands of Kuwaiti women, wives of Kuwaiti men and the children of these couples.

He added the new medical fees for expatriates are not applicable to domestic workers. He revealed the number of patients in emergency rooms decreased by 30 percent while those undergoing tests in laboratories decreased by more than 30 percent since the implementation of the new medical fees for expatriates. He asked the directors of health districts to submit weekly statistics on expatriate patients who visit public hospitals and medical centers to be discussed along with comments on the new fees. He also instructed the assistant undersecretaries and directors of health districts to submit their five-year plans including future medical projects and to follow up ongoing projects. He added he will meet undersecretaries and directors of central directorates from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon every Monday to discuss the problems they are facing.

By Marwa Al-Bahrawi Al-Seyassah / Arab Times Staff

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