By A Saleh
KUWAIT: The health and foreign ministries are moving to involve the UN in deporting around 450 expat patients who refuse to leave government hospitals, with some remaining hospitalized for more than three years. The health ministry has placed the issue of expat patients who remain in public hospitals although their treatment is complete on its priorities list, and asked the foreign ministry to take practical steps to deport them, after being frustrated due to a lack of action by their embassies in Kuwait and a lack of response for demands to take them, especially after some of their family members abandoned them, while others do not have relatives in Kuwait.
Official sources said such patients number around 450 of various nationalities and are a burden on health ministry services, as they occupy beds without a need that can be used by other patients waiting to be admitted. They said this is a humanitarian issue and they cannot be forced out, especially since many of them are elderly.
The sources said after embassies of these patients did not act, their numbers, the hospitals they are in, the time they have spent there and their health conditions have been tallied, adding the ministry will not ask for treatment fees in exchange for their departure. The sources said the files of these patients will soon be sent to the foreign ministry to find another way to resolve the issue, which is to contact the United Nations office in Kuwait to deal directly with embassies, or for the UN to transfer these patients to their countries in cooperation with Kuwaiti authorities.