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Escalating Healthcare charges in UAE

In UAE, the common man has seen a rapid increase in healthcare charges over the past few years. The people in UAE have been affected not only by the rising cost of living// but also by the health sector, which has become a money-spinning business.

The government in 2003 revised the healthcare fee structure. This had upset many emigrants, who previously had the benefit of ‘free’ hospital visits. In fact, they even used to invite their relatives from home country to make use of the excellent and affordable medical services in the UAE. In contrast, the private health business flourished due to the sudden rise in emigrant population who preferred private medical services to government ones as the expenditure was almost same.

Shaikh Majid Al Qassimi, managing director of Al Zahra Hospital, while referring to the government’s implementation of the new fee structure in 2003, said “since the government increased the fees for its healthcare sector, the private healthcare businesses hiked their costs by about 150 per cent”.

“Healthcare in the UAE has definitely become a ‘lucrative’ business since healthcare costs have increased dramatically over the years,” said P Raman, a resident of Sharjah.
“There is no relief in sight because the government and private hospitals both charge the same amount. There is no option but to depend on what is being offered. Either this, or spend on travelling back home which is unsatisfactory and expensive in some cases as well,” he said.

“I have seen people get disappointed and never return for their follow-up visits since the government increased the healthcare fee. Only visits to the emergency section are free and that too if the patient has a valid health card,” said a doctor working for a local government, on the condition of anonymity.
“If people think that their illness could take a back seat for a while, they never turn up again at the hospital. People are afraid of a huge medical bill
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