Manama: The Emiri Hospital will take only Kuwaiti nationals as Outpatients Department (OPD) patients in the mornings, a health official has said.

Capital health zone director Dr Afrah Al Sarraf said that expatriates can avail of the OPD services only in the afternoons and Kuwaitis will be treated in the mornings exclusively. However, Kuwaitis can opt for OPD services in the afternoons as well.

Al Sarraf said that based on the success of the separation policy at Rawda polyclinic, the policy would be implemented in all the Capital clinics, Kuwaiti media reported on Sunday.

The idea of allocating morning medical services in public hospitals to Kuwaitis was first floated in 2013 when a hospital in Jahra, west to the capital Kuwait City, said it would accept only Kuwaitis in the morning and that foreigners were banned from entering the premises until the afternoon.

However, expatriates could have access to doctors for treatment in emergency cases.

The decision was made after lawmakers put pressure on the health ministry to introduce a new system that favoured Kuwaitis.

Kuwaiti patients have repeatedly complained that their waiting times to see a doctor had been extended by the high number of foreigners receiving treatment at public hospitals and called for solutions.

The initiative at Jahra was introduced on a six-month trial basis to assess its impact.

About two thirds of the total population of 3.3 million people living in Kuwait are foreigners, mainly unskilled labourers, helpers and drivers from Asian countries.

Kuwaiti authorities are currently looking into a proposal to impose a cap on nationalities and have a quota system that limits the number of foreigners that work or live in Kuwait.

Indians nationals top the list of foreigners while the Egyptians make up the largest Arab community in Kuwait.