(MENAFN - Jordan Times) His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday said health is a top priority, noting that red tape should not be a hurdle to the provision of medical services.
"We will not allow bureaucracy to become a pretext to hamper the provision of efficient medical services," King Abdullah said during a surprise visit to the University of Jordan (UJ) Hospital where work in some of its units has been disrupted because of cumulative debts, according to a Royal Court statement.
The hospital has not been able to pay JD23 million in debts to pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies as the Ministry of Health has failed to pay the hospital the sum of JD28 million bill.
During the visit, the King directed concerned officials to take immediate action to resolve the financial problem of the UJ Hospital and ensure the resumption of health services in the units whose operations have been scaled back or halted because of the financial crisis.
The King stressed the importance of preserving the achievements of the medical sector through unified health-related efforts and improved performance to provide optimal medical services for Jordanian, Arab and foreign patients.
Work at the endoscopy, gastroenterology and lithotripsy units has been suspended, whereas work at the cardiac catheterisation lab was partially suspended, hospital director Majali Mheilan explained yesterday, as quoted in the statement.
During the visit, the King was briefed on the situation and performance of the hospital, which deals annually with half-a-million cases.
Patients who were at the hospital during the King's tour said the visit reflects the Hashemite leadership's continued follow-up on citizens' issues.
Hani Abu Ali said: "I was in the waiting room with my mother who is sick when the King walked in."
"He listened to all problems and hurdles facing us and he was interested in every detail," he added.
At the endocrinology unit, Ahed Hiyari said the King showed up during peak hours and he saw first-hand the congestion and large number of outpatients and listened to their remarks on insufficient medicines and the lack of medical equipment needed for surgeries.
Established in 1973, the UJ Hospital provides specialised medical services as well as training for medical and nursing students, besides encouraging scientific research.
Yesterday, Minister of Health Abdul Latif Wreikat said the government will transfer its outstanding dues to the hospital within the coming few days.