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Hospitals warned on emergency cases.


The Health Ministry plans to impose strict penalties upon government and private health institutions who fail to commit to treating emergency cases in line with the directives of former ministers over the past years. The directives of the three former health ministers, as well as the current minister, require institutions to provide necessary treatment to emergency patients, irrespective of the patient's right to receive treatment at the respective institution. Dr. Khalid Marghalani, the ministry spokesman, said the minister will follow up directly on any complaints regarding the issue. This comes at a time when the newly appointed Minister of Health Mohammed bin Ali Al-Hayazi, who has vowed to impose maximum penalties against government and private hospitals that refuse to accept and receive emergency cases. In a circular issued two weeks ago, he emphasized the need for these institutions to provide treatment without exception. The directives are based on the observations of the Red Crescent Authority, which reveal a large number of government and private hospitals have refused to receive emergency patients due to reasons related to treatment entitlement. Dr. Marghalani said the ministry is committed to ensuring necessary and immediate first aid is delivered to patients to save their lives. He said the ministry has been receiving complaints about the issue through various channels, including the "Citizen's Voice" system on the ministry's online site, fax, and health department offices around the Kingdom. As explained by Dr. Marghalani, Article XVI of the Regulations of the Private Health Institutions mandates the provision of necessary treatment for all emergency cases without prior financial claims submitted for treatment, and regardless of the patient's nationality and employer. He said the regulations also include different penalties to be applied to violating institutions, which may include financial fines, temporary closure, withdrawal of the institution's license, and libel.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jan 16, 2015
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