Kuwait wants to revamp its national healthcare system to improve services and cut outbound medical tourism, according to local media. It has identified healthcare as a key priority in the government’s KD31 billion ($102.9 billion) Kuwait Development Plan (KDP) for 2015-2020 and has reportedly now launched a package of reforms intended to cut costs in the sector while improving the quality of service provision.
Below-par national healthcare prompts thousands of Kuwaitis to travel abroad for treatment each year, Kuwait Times reported on Thursday. And, as the government is obliged to cover the costs of citizens’ healthcare it is spending vast amounts of money on outbound medical tourism.
The most widespread ailments among Kuwaitis reportedly include cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Kuwait spent KD441 million ($1.5 billion) to fund 11,000 medical trips abroad in 2014, the newspaper said, citing figures from the State Audit Bureau. The government recently announced it would cut daily allowances provided to patients travelling abroad for treatment, and to their companions, but the overall bill remains considerable.
Under the reform plans, the Ministry of Health reportedly plans to build eight new hospitals and hospital extensions at a cost of $1 billion.
The Ministry of Public Works has also allocated $4.2 billion to build nine additional hospitals, to boost the number of beds available in public facilities and create an estimated 15,000 new jobs.
Source: Arabian Business