(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Health has ordered 2,000 clinics and medical centers to rectify their status in line with new medical regulations by March 3 next year or face closure.
Ali Al-Zawawi, the ministry's undersecretary for the private sector, said the ministry would enforce the law at the beginning of March. The law requires owners to change the names of their clinics to private medical centers and employ consultants in all specializations.
Al-Zawawi said the ministry would close down facilities that violate the law because owners were given enough time to comply. He said the ministry wants all attending doctors to work under the supervision of consultants.
Sami Badawood, director of Jeddah health affairs, confirmed that the ministry had sent a circular to these clinics to sort out their status. Badawood said the ministry would fine or close down clinics found raising fees.
Several clinic owners, who did not want to be named, are opposed to the new regulations and called on the ministry to launch a review. They said that the new stipulation to hire consultants would force them to raise fees by 300 percent.
They said consultants are not needed because they have doctors licensed by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. "Appointing a consultant in each major specialization isn't feasible, because there aren't many consultants to go around, not to mention the fact that the ministry prevented government consultants from working at private health facilities," a clinic owner said.
He said it was not possible to hire 10,000 consultants for the 2,000 private medical facilities in the Kingdom before the March 3 deadline. He said each clinic should be required to hire only one consultant, with further recruitment left to the discretion of each facility.