It's not too easy for an ailing man to get a new health card

DUBAI - A relatively simple procedure for the application of a health card turned out to be a bureaucratic nightmare for an ailing man. Diagnosed as having an appendix problem which required immediate medical treatment, Major S. Singh, an Indian expatriate working with a transport company in Dubai, applied for a new health card at Rashid Hospital as instructed by his company.

By Prerna Suri

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Published: Sat 10 Jul 2004, 10:22 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:46 PM

Unaware about the procedures involved in making a health card, he was directed by Rashid Hospital to pay Dh300 for his health card and was also asked to deposit Dh200 as fees required for a medical test he would normally have to pay for during the time of renewal of his residence visa.

Despite his holding a valid visa, he was instructed to go to Maktoum Hospital for his medical test by an official in the health card section.

"I went to a gentleman at a counter who asked me what I wanted, and when I told him that I needed a new health card, he asked me to pay Dh500 for both the health card and the medical test. Thinking that it was a new rule they introduced, I paid the amount and was asked to go to Maktoum Hospital for my medical test before I could begin my treatment," he explained.

Despite his pain, Major Singh said that he travelled to Al Maktoum Hospital in a bus to begin his long journey of getting his medical test administered.

"I visited the hospital and as I was entering, one typing agent caught hold of me and took my form to type it in Arabic. I paid them their fees and after I submitted my papers along with the receipt for Dh200, I was told that I did not require a test as my visa was already valid and was asked to go back to Rashid Hospital," he said.

Frustrated and in deep pain by then, Major Singh, went back to Rashid Hospital to ask for a refund for the medical test but was bluntly refused by the officials present there.

"I went back to the cashier to explain about the confusion and asked for a refund, but he didn't even bother listening to me.

"He told me that it was plainly my fault for not being aware about the rules and that I should have insisted on not paying the additional money.

'I thought it was the hospital's duty to explain all the rules and regulations regarding any procedure to a patient and ensure that such a confusion does not occur!" exclaimed Major Singh.

An official at the health card section of Rashid Hospital, when confronted with these facts, said that they would be unable to do anything for Major Singh as he had already submitted his papers to Maktoum Hospital.

"If he hadn't submitted his typed documents, we could have still done something to help him. But since he already paid the amount and submitted his application for a medical test, it is virtually impossible to grant him a refund. What we can do in such a situation is that when the time comes for the renewal of his visa next year, we will not charge him for the medical test," he said.

This comes as poor consolation for Major Singh, who is in dire straits financially and had to take out an advance on his salary from the company to pay for his medical treatment.

He said: "I hope that the hospital can refund my money as I urgently need it right now to pay for my medical bills and other such expenses.

"I had taken Dh800 as advance from the company thinking it would be enough for the application of my new health card and to pay for things such as medicines, blood tests, food etc. But since I had not foreseen this additional expense, I am very constrained in the way I am using my money."

Dohms explains

AN OFFICIAL at the Public Relations Department of the Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) said that the onus lies on the patient to enquire about procedures before appearing for a medical test.

"The patient concerned should have enquired fully about the procedures that are required for the application of a health card, instead of going for the medical test. Once the medical test has been administered, it is very difficult for us to refund the fees."

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