Kuwait implements new hospital timings for foreigners
Kuwait’s health ministry has gone ahead with its plan to limit treatment at the Jahra public hospital outpatient clinics exclusively to Kuwaiti patients.
Kuwaitis will be treated in the morning and non-Kuwaitis will be treated in the evenings at the medical facility west of the capital, Kuwait City. The changes, announced in May, were implemented on June 1.
The new arrangement will be applied at the clinics at Jahra hospital for six months on a trial basis before being rolled out to other public hospitals in a bid to reduce the heavy load, officials said.
“We have observed a reduction in the number of people in the morning,” said Shihab Al Muhannadi, the director of the hospital, , referring to the first day the new measure was applied. “We however expect to see many more people in the evening when non-Kuwaitis come for treatment at the outpatient clinics,” he said, quoted by the Al Rai daily on Monday.
Al Muhannadi added that he hoped doctors would use the new morning conditions to spend more time with their patients.
He said the quality of service would not be affected by the new arrangements and that non-Kuwaitis would benefit from the same advantages as Kuwaiti citizens.
The decision to apply the new system at the outpatient clinics was taken after Kuwaitis have regularly complained of the long waiting lists and the overcrowded halls at the country’s hospitals.
However, the decision was branded as “racist” by activists who said that it amounted to discrimination that targeted a vulnerable segment of society.
But for many Kuwaitis it meant a respite from competition for medical services and possibly better services.
The decision does not apply to emergency treatment administered to Kuwaiti citizens and foreigners at any time of the day.
The 2.6 million foreigners who live in the northern Arabian Gulf state make up two thirds of the total population. They are mainly unskilled labourers in the construction sector or domestic helpers.