"The ministry has given instructions to hospitals functioning under its authority to receive all patients, especially those who can't afford treatment expenses. Formalities like showing health card are no longer a must for poor patients," Hassan Ahmed Al Alkim, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Health told your favourite No. 1 newspaper Khaleej Times yesterday.
He said the ministry was keen that all patients receive treatment, particularly emergency cases. He said the ministry would take into consideration the condition of poor patients who cannot afford the cost of treatment.
“We have instructed doctors and health care providers not to turn away any patient for administrative reasons. Our priority is the patient. We cannot leave people to die because they can't afford treatment costs," Alkim said.
The official dismissed reports that some patients were denied treatment at ministry hospitals for not having enough money or when their cards had expired or had not yet been issued. "I haven't come across any such incident. This is a clear violation of our ethics as health care providers."
He warned that in case a patient was denied treatment for any administrative reason, the services of the doctor in charge would be subject to termination.
"Doctors are not responsible for checking formalities with patients. They have been instructed to provide treatment first and accord top priority to them, and without questioning the patient on administrative issues," the official said.
Alkim underlined that the ministry usually turns to sponsors for treatment fees in case patients failed to pay. "Social service offices at hospitals follow up with sponsors the payment procedures after patients receive required medication," he added.
When we choose to look away for good, we are as complicit as those at the helm of this atrocity
Over 100 people in Lebanon have been reported killed during the hostilities started on October 7