Kuwait approves segregation of medical care

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Kuwait’s Health Ministry has reportedly approved a proposal to designate specific hours of the day that nationals and expatriates can access medical attention.

Under the change, Kuwaitis will be given priority for medical checkups at public hospitals and clinics during the morning, with foreigners only able to access doctors in the afternoon, unless it is an emergency.

Staff also will be segregated according to their nationality, with Kuwaitis working in the morning and expat doctors in the afternoon.

The move is seen as favourable to Kuwaitis while reducing the level of care given to expats, who make up about two-thirds of the Gulf state’s population but would have fewer hours they could seek medical attention.

Human Path Organisation secretary Taher Al-Baghly told reporters when the proposal was revealed in February that it was discriminatory.

“The health service will not be equal, because consultants work in the morning and this will lead to variations in service levels,” he said.

Psychological advisor Iman Al-Bedah said the proposal was “dangerous at all levels” and would discriminate against both patients and medical staff.

“The health sector is not qualified to face the burdens of the segregation policy, which will increase patient traffic in the evening and this will worsen the level of service,” she said in February.

“Such policy contradicts the standards and ethics of the medical profession. It also clashes with legal standards and international treaties related to human rights.”

However, Kuwaiti daily Arabic newspaper Al-Anba reported on Sunday that the proposal had been accepted by the Council of Medical Zones.

The newspaper quoted a source as confirming that the change was intended to “provide better service to Kuwaiti patients”, although they claimed the quality of service given to expats would not decline.

No timeline for implementing the new policy has been announced.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Shahzad

Hello expats

No coughing in morning times please,,,,,

All Arabs and all Ajams are equal, said Prophet PBUH.

Posted by: Neil

Aparthied is BACK !!

Posted by: A reader

Apartheid has been outlawed by all civilized nations. If the clinic is full of laborers then segregate families/ladies from bachelors, or establish clinics near labor camps. Hospitals are places of medicine, nothing else.

Apropos expelling expatriates, some Kuwaitis may be experts at showing them the fastest route, since they were the first out in August 1990, leaving it mostly to foreigners to get the country back.

Posted by: Majd

This is not a well thought out plan to address over-crowding in the hospitals and if you interview the average Kuwaiti, the majority of them support this plan. It is a desperate attempt to deal with an over population of low level workers in the country, because when I interviewed expats that are not low-level labourers, they have insurance and stay clear of the government system. I highly suspect that doctors working in the system were not asked their opionion, because logistically if expat doctors need to coordinate efforts with Kuwaiti doctors then these time constraints will greatly affect their patients welfare. Kuwaitis at the government level seem to go for the quick fix rather than analyse the cause and effects of their actions. The MOH should consult with the MOI to ask what they are doing to curb the large populations of illegal expats on the streets and to work with legislation to handle the health insurance issue with employers in the country.

Posted by: SAM

@Majd, a very insightful comment. Quick fixes are easy but seldom effective.

Posted by: Doug

As for the staff segregation, I give this about 2 months before it's ever-so-quietly reversed. I rather doubt there are enough Kuwaiti doctors to cover the full range of specialisms. So you'll end up with this situation where you'll have a Kuwaiti actually unable to get the care they needed because the specialist doctor is an expat and can only work in the afternoon.

Actually, on reflection what will happen is the Kuwaiti docs will still just work for a couple of hours in the morning and the expat doc ends up doing a double shift.

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