Abu Dhabi: Just 488 Saudis were sent abroad for medical treatment last year, compared to 2,842 people in 2019, an 82 per cent drop, a report by the Health Ministry revealed.
The report showed patients received treatment in countries such as the USs, the UK, Germany, Singapore and China.
The US remained the top destination for medical treatments with 245 cases, followed by Germany with 142 cases and the United Kingdom with 101 cases.
Tumors topped the cases sent overseas for medical treatment with 304 cases, followed by general surgeries with 57 cases, internal medicine with 28 cases, cardiac surgeries with 26 cases, pediatric diseases with 22 cases, organ transplantation with 21 cases, then ophthalmology with 9 cases, medical rehabilitation and oral and dental medicine with 6 cases each, ear, nose and throat 5 cases, and finally gynecology and psychiatry two cases each.
The decision to treat patients abroad is based on a royal decree or a recommendation made by the High Medical Commission.
Members of the commission are representatives from various health departments such as the medical services department at the Ministry of Defense, the department of health affairs at the Ministry of National Guard, the medical services department at the Ministry of Interior, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, university hospitals and the Ministry of Health.
There are 18 medical committees spread throughout the Kingdom to deal with such cases. The Kingdom has also appointed three attachés in the US, Germany and the UK.
The Saudi health offices abroad arrange appointments for patients at overseas treatment centers and supervise their treatment.