DOHA: With Qatar spending millions of dollars every year for treatment of citizens abroad, new rules have been laid down to ensure that the patients get paid without delay.
The State Cabinet yesterday approved amendments of some provisions of the cabinet decision No. 69 of 2012 fixing the allowances being paid to patients who are sent abroad for treatment and those accompanying them during the trips. All expenses for the treatment have been borne by the state.
According to the amendments, daily allowances are to be paid in advance for the first two weeks, and afterwards they have to be paid at the end of each week.
The state will also bear the travel costs of the patients and those accompanying them. They will get economy class air tickets in normal cases. A higher class ticket will be provided in exceptional cases that include:
Trips that take ten hours or more, where the patients and those accompanying them deserve travelling on business class; cases which require a higher class of travel according to the list determined by competent medical committees dealing with the cases.
In 2011, Qatar spent QR1.2bn ($328.76m) for treatment of citizens abroad, the Advisory Council said during a session last year, while calling for better and more advanced healthcare facilities in Qatar.
There were 2,000 patients who sought treatment abroad in 2012. According to statistics released by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) earlier a total of QR780m ($213.7m) was spent on nearly 3,000 citizens who received treatment overseas in 2010.
Latest data suggest that a major portion of these patients are getting treatment in the US and Canada for chronic diseases like cancer. Qatari patients getting treatment for cancer in the US represent one third of the total citizens sent for treatment to US and Canada last year, Al Sharq reports.
About 1,000 Qataris sought treatment in the US and Canada last year. Patients treated for neurological disorders and those who underwent organ transplant constituted 10 percent each of the total patients.
A number of children with various types of diseases sought treatment during the year. Many patients also underwent complicated cosmetic surgeries and body rehabilitation sessions necessitated by accidents. Health authorities have been working on a new strategy to establish several specialised hospitals in the country, based on a feasibility study.