KUWAIT: Senior officials revealed that the government’s plan to restrict public hospitals, polyclinics and health centers to Kuwaitis only is still among the main goals of the workplan of the government and health ministry, but practical means to achieve this target are not available yet.
They said the plan aims at treating residents in the private sector, while public hospitals will be for citizens only, after criticisms by Kuwaitis of delays in obtaining appointments due to the large number of residents, whose numbers are double that of citizens, at the expense of services provided to Kuwaitis. This apart from the pressure on the ministry’s services and its infrastructure and its increasing budget every year.
The sources said among the reasons for not implementing the plan to treat expats in private clinics is that the health infrastructure of the private sector is still unable to absorb the more than three million residents living in Kuwait, which compels the health ministry to receive and treat expats. Moreover, despite the professionalism of Kuwait’s private healthcare sector, the difference in capabilities between it and the government’s health ministry is starkly clear.
The sources added the coming period will see international hospitals operating in Kuwait’s private sector as part of the government’s plan to attract foreign investors in the medical sector. This may lead the private sector to be able to accept large numbers of expat patients. They said the ministry is not considering increasing health fees for residents, but this is linked to future developments, explaining health fees in some sectors may witness a review of their current prices in the next period.