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Fri 17 May 2013 11:52 AM

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Kuwait to start medical care segregation on June 1

Expats will be barred from attending public hospitals in the mornings - local media

Kuwait to start medical care segregation on June 1

Kuwait is to bar foreigners from attending public hospitals in the mornings fronm June 1, local media have reported.

Health Minister Mohammad al-Haifi, who is also a surgeon, ordered that the outpatient clinics at the public hospital in Jahra, west of Kuwait City, will only receive Kuwaiti patients in the morning from next month.

The new system will be applied at the clinics at Jahra hospital for six months on a "trial basis before its application at other (government) hospitals", local papers said.

The decision comes after complaints in parliament of Kuwaiti patients having to wait for treatment at public health facilities because of the large number of expatriates.

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.

Last month, it was reported that 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.

Kuwait is home to 2.6 million foreigners, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Egypt and Syria, and 1.2 million native Kuwaitis.

Kuwait provides free medical services to citizens but expats must pay an annual fee of $175 each besides paying reduced charges for certain procedures like x-ray.

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Jay 6 years ago

Disgraceful to create a two tier system medical care should be on need not nationality
Prioritising locals just makes us expats more marginalised this country has more hospitals per head of population but its just so inefficient
A classic case of animal farm politics all people are equal but some are more equal than others

Disgruntled 6 years ago

Terribly short sighted and discriminatory..when it comes to healthcare, there is no room for preferential treatment based on nationality! Once again, it seems easiest to pick on the expats..

RAH 6 years ago

You dont analyzing and complaining? Lets see:

You pay no income taxes to Kuwait
You pay 50KD a year for access to all medical services
Your 50KD also subsidises extra services needed by you for the hospital
The Ministry of Health keeps a cap on medicine prices so that you dont have to pay extorniate amounts
You pay no road tax
You pay a few KDs for each hospital visit

Yet you DEMAND unlimited access?

Kuwait DOES provides EVERYONE regardless of race, color, creed or nationality unlimited access to hospital.. Where, you ask? It is called PRIVATE HOSPITALS!!

If Kuwait charges income tax, you'll scream. If they charge road tax, you'll scream. If they force you to ride the bus, you'll scream. If they say use private hospitals and pay for those services, you'll scream..

My question is: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM KUWAIT EXACTLY?

You already have a tax-free life paying no taxes in a rentier state, isnt it fair to expect to give back something? Or is greed your national pastime?

Vicky 6 years ago

RAH, not at all surprised to read your view of the world. Can clearly see where you are coming from. What is obvious to most (and perhaps not to you) is the orientation of the policy. The country isn’t hosting anyone on charity. They are fulfilling a two way transaction... getting paid for the service rendered. Taking up jobs which nationals can’t or wouldn`t handle. There is no altruistic motivation for not slapping taxes. Quite simply, you will not find anyone to pay tax and work in your country, because there just isn't anything else that would attract anybody. Sorry you aren't getting it and probably won't in a long while. You know very well it is not about the tax or the healthcare fees, although you may feel good to latch on to this point. You just have to step out of the prism and see how shocking the practice and the arguments are. Anyway, good luck with the implementation

Sun 6 years ago

Equal rights.... We are all human... Sad to see that how short sighted are the people these days.

Jay 6 years ago

You really have missed the point there would be no kuwaitnwithout the expats
Salaries are based on nationality you can't have a driving licence unless you have a degree and earn 400kd yet it's the locals who cause the chaos on the roads the Bedouin issue is not expat
Whatndomwe want
An equal society where everyone is treated equally and fairly and not one where you get big pay rises for doing nothing while we don't
I don't mind paying taxes as long as you do too you all get the handouts from government we get told reduce by 100000 a yr the expats can't go to hospitals it seems to me you are the selfish you want it all free and the expats pay you would not be here ifnitnwasnt for us and don't forget it

Joe 6 years ago

A few kd for each visit its actually 20 and if you only earn 200 that's a lot Kuwaitis have it all but forget that it is provided by the 3 million expats
Kuwait for Kuwaitis I understand so why are you all so greedy with big pay demands and a hand out attitude pay off my debts
Let me get to the hospital first we don't go to jump the queues we go cause we're sick
Animal farm politics is the perfect way to describe it
We're not greedy we just want equality which is a basic human right
Oops sorry we don't get those as expats

tfg 6 years ago

Kuwaitis are already minority in their own country, this is there minority rights.

Sam 6 years ago

What is so amusing with this policy is that Kuwaitis will want to go in the evening and what happens if this happens? Also, how does this effect the doctors schedule, or the relationship between expat doctors and Kuwaiti doctors. What about the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take, or do the doctors in Kuwait not take this oath? Again the Kuwait government makes the 'quick fix' instead of analyzing the reprocusions of their actions and the long-haul scenerio. They could have handled the overcrowding of government hospitals by implementing strict guidelines or allocating certain clinics for expats. There is a company in the UAE that is building adequate medical clinics for expats in the UAE, Qatar and Oman. This also could have been a solution, but then the Kuwaitis would have been jealous that expats had new clinics and they had to go to the old rundown ones. A valid point is that there is mandatory healthcare fees for expats in Kuwait, so the government is obligated.

Mike 6 years ago

It is so sad to see Kuwait deteriorate in this way...can it not learn for its neighboring countries such as UAE and Qatar. So what are the values that this country is giving and what lessons is it giving to the future generations?? this is so sad!