Saudi Arabia suspends 12 medical centres over violations

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Saudi authorities have suspended 12 medical centres that carry out examinations for expat visas after discovering a host of violations, including claims of not passing on information of a positive HIV test result, it was reported.

Dr Sami Badwood, director of Jeddah Health Affairs was quoted by Al Madinah daily as saying that serious violations were discovered at 14 centers, with 12 of these temporarily suspended.

He said the breaches included errors in sorting out blood samples, a lack of proper medical records, insufficient number of specialists and technicians, absence of supervisors during official working hours and a lack of periodical maintenance of equipment, Saudi Gazette reported.

Badawood also said some of the violating centes did not safely dispose of medical garbage.

However, Ali Abdullah Al Khathami, member of the lab committee of Jeddah Health Affairs, was quoted as saying that some medical results were not accurate as a result of outdated equipment or a lack of proper periodical maintenance.

He also claimed some centres were not informing authorities when they discovered a positive HIV case.

Al Madinah said following field tours of a number of the medical centres in Jeddah it was noted that charges differed from one area to another. It said in the north of Jeddah the charges range between SR200 and SR400, while in the south of the city, they were between SR90 and SR150.

“Any violating center will be punished according to the rules,” he was quoted as saying. “The punishment can reach up to the complete cancellation of its license.”

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