Sharp rise: Health at a cost

Government hospitals in Dubai hike charges to 'cover expenses'

Image Credit: Xpress /Zarina Fernandes
Trauma Centre at Rashid Hospital. The hospital has also increased charges
05 XPRESS

DUBAI: Government hospitals in Dubai have increased prices of several procedures and services, XPRESS can exclusively reveal.

A spokesperson of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said: "Prices of certain procedures at our hospitals have increased, but prices are still very competitive when compared to the private sector. An important point which one needs to take into consideration is that for years, our prices have remained the same and thus, we felt that we needed to raise the price to ensure we cover our expenses."

The husband of a woman due for delivery at Al Wasl Hospital was however not impressed. "Doesn't the government or hospital advertise any increment well in advance?," he asked after his wife registered there because they had found the delivery charges of Dh4,500 affordable. He said he had paid an advance of Dh2,500, but two weeks before the delivery this month, he discovered that the cost had gone up to Dh9,500.

Cash effect

"Honestly, I cannot raise that much cash," he said, adding, "What action would the government take for those with low salaries?"

According to the revised maternity packages at Al Wasl Hospital and Dubai Hospital, both operating under the DHA, the fee for a normal delivery reportedly costs Dh7,000 with a two-day hospital stay, while a caesarean section costs Dh10,000 with a four-day hospital stay. The charges for a normal delivery and stay in a private room now costs up to Dh9,000, while a caesarean section and stay in a private room costs Dh12,000.

Inquiries at the Rashid Hospital revealed that patients will now be required to cough up Dh3,100 per day for stay at the ICU.

While X-rays will cost Dh120, up from Dh50, charges for CT scans and mammograms have gone up to Dh500 from Dh100-Dh150 earlier.

The cost of MRIs has doubled from Dh600 to Dh1,200, with most surgeries costing more, sources said, adding that there will be no change in consultation and room charges.

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At a time when the government needs to be taking measures to keep prices in check, the opposite seems to be happening. This is close to 100 per cent hike in fees, which is comparable to the fees of private hospitals. Al Raffa Maternity hospital, Mankhool, charges around Dh7,000 for a normal delivery and Dh12,000 approximately for a C-section. Surely hospitals need to give advance notice of such major hikes to enable patients make informed choices. My wife was registered with a government hospital as it was one of the few affordable ones in Dubai. Now we have to cough up close to double the amount we originally planned for. With salaries dropping sharply and prices of basic healthcare rising, Dubai is fast becoming unaffordable for the middle class.

S

24 April 2010 15:54jump to comments
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