MOH News
Dr. Al-Masha'al: More than SR Billion for Treating Citizens Abroad Last Year
22 December 2013
The Director-General of the Medical Authorities and Health Attaches of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Masha'al Abdullah Al-Masha'al unveiled that the number of patients referred for treatment abroad reached 4723 cases in 1423; 2781 cases of which were referred by the Supreme Medical Authority, and the remainder by royal treatment orders. They were treated in the hospitals of the United States, the United Kingdom of Britain, Germany, and China.
During a press conference held at the MOH yesterday, he remarked that the gross cost of the treatment of the patients referred by the MOH for treating abroad exceeded SR Billion last year. He went on to point out that there is no a specific standard for treating any illness case of any citizen referred for treatment abroad. This highlights the interest of the Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, may Allah protect him, in its citizens, and their keenness on their safety and delivering the heath care for them.
In the meantime, he ascribed the delaying of sending some patients for treatment abroad to the difficulty of making appointments with the concerned medical centers abroad. This is due to the rarity of some specialties for which the patients are sent for treatment and the dearth of the centers where the treatment is available. He also draw attention to the fact that all the centers providing treatment for the patient's case were corresponded, and whichever responds earliest the patient is referred to.
Within the same vein, he stressed finishing the procedures of approving the patient's travelling whose medical reports, X-rays and passports and among others have completed within ten days. Yet, a delay still persists in terms of getting appointments for treatment in the concerned centers. Further, the patients for whom the decision of treating abroad is issued need obtaining the visas of the states in which they will be treated. Most of the embassies of these states stipulate that consent and an appointment of the hospital where the patient will be treated be obtained in order to grant them the visa. He drew attention to the fact that the General Medical Authority in the region grants the patient or their family letters to the concerned embassies with the appointment made by the hospital included. This is with the aim of finishing the visa procedures as soon as possible. All the more, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is to pay for the flight tickets, and any incidental costs will be borne by the patient or those accompanying them.
He made clear that the MOH has 18 general medical authorities in the entire Kingdom's regions and three health attaches in the U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom of Britain, stressing the commitment of the MOH to delivering the health services and providing the health care for those in need of it, in line with the medical conventions and the systems and regulations applied in terms of treating the illness cases whether in or outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He also put emphasis on the fact that the MOH works according to a scientific mechanism and method achieving justice and equality among the citizens of the nation, and that the only par is the health condition and the pure medical view. Meanwhile, he pointed out that the MOH eyes the condition of the patient and exerts its utmost to materialize their desire in terms of treatment.

He went on to add that the MOH does not allow sending the patients to the research centers which administer medications not-medically-approved, still being tested, and not scientifically effective, such as stem cell therapy and others. And, the MOH possesses a black list of some hospitals and medical centers which were proven to be manipulative, complacent, and exaggerated in terms of treating the patients referred to them, drawing attention to the fact that the U.S. takes up the lion share; followed by Germany, then the United Kingdom of Britain, and China. Tumors top the diseases for which the patients are sent to treated abroad, and then come in cardiac diseases, transplants, bone diseases, and medulla.

As regards what is being published at mass media and social networks about the referral requests of treating the illness cases abroad, he elaborated on the details of the mechanism approved for dealing with the illness cases seeking to be treated within or outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  He went on to remark that referring the patients for treatment outside the Kingdom takes place upon the high royal orders, or upon a decision of the Supreme Medical Authority, made up of Saudi advisors from the different governmental health sectors. They are the Medical Services of the Ministry of Defense, Health Affairs of the Ministry of National Guards, Medical Services of the Ministry of Interior, King Faisal Specialized Hospital, Research Center, university hospitals, and Ministry of Health (MOH).
He pointed out that the advisors, the members of the Supreme Medical Authority, study the patient's health condition, ensure whether the treatment of the case can be provided within the Kingdom or not, and the extent of the patient's need and their benefit from being sent abroad, affirming that the decision is purely medical and based upon the patient's health condition and the chances of treatment and recovery, Allah willing.
He also noted that in the event that a decision should be issued sending the patient outside the Kingdom, the MOH through the health attaches outside the Kingdom coordinate with the medical centers and hospitals abroad and notifies with the date of sending the patient. This entails having consent of the patient's appointment from the hospital they are referred to issued, as well as the appointment of the doctor assigned for treating the case. Such a matter requires some time due to the difficulty of making immediate appointments with the concerned doctor. That's to say, these doctors are engaged with previously-scheduled appointments as they are remarkable doctors whose schedules are without slots. Or the specialty in question could be rare and is only delivered in few numbers of world hospitals.
And when it comes to the patient's health condition; whether it is critical , needs special care, and requires transporting the patient through the medical evacuation, he emphasized that" in that case, the situation gets harder due to medical, worldly-recognized organizational reasons. And getting consent and providing beds for these cases prove more difficult."

Last Update : 23 December 2013 09:42 AM
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