SR800 for a medical consultation?

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Al-Madina

I LOGGED into a website that contains a database of Saudi and expatriate doctors practicing in Saudi Arabia. Patients can make appointments for consultation with any of them at the hospitals they work or their private clinics.

Then I noticed that the examination fees for Saudi doctors starts from SR400-SR500 and it reaches as high as SR800 per patient.

(This is the fee for doctors with common specializations and the fees for those in rare branches of medicine could be much higher.)

These examinations take a maximum of 10 minutes and in most cases they end in a couple of minutes, which include the paperwork that the doctors need to complete.

On the other hand, I found that the fees that expatriate doctors charge are very are reasonable. They range from SR100 to SR200 and rarely reach SR300. The educational qualifications and experience of these Saudi and expat doctors are almost the same, or the expat doctors have a slightly better qualifications and experience.

Most of the Saudi doctors who advertise their services on this website are quite young and do not have much experience, and I have never heard anyone recommending them.

Then why are they charging such unreasonably high fees for a few minutes of consultation? I hope no one would say it is because they are Saudi nationals.

According to my humble information, charging a reasonable consultation fee does not diminish the worth of a Saudi doctor in his country. There are expatriate doctors who have better qualifications and experience than Saudi doctors, not only in Saudi Arabia but also in almost every country in the region.

There should not be any discrimination between Saudi and expat doctors in the first place. It is quite unfair to charge a higher fee for a medical examination by a Saudi doctor than an expat doctor having the same qualifications and experience just because he or she is a citizen of this country. Such discrimination is blatant racism in a noble profession.

I am of the opinion that Saudi doctors should have the opportunity to profit from their profession. I wish them the best in their jobs at the hospitals they work and their practice outside the official work hours.

But if they want to turn into businessmen in the name of being Saudi and for them to earn an income more than double the income of the health minister of the country, then that needs to be scrutinized. This is especially so because most of the Saudi doctors do not deal with insurance companies and patients who approach them will find themselves forced to pay in cash.

I call on the Ministry of Health to set a fair limit for consultation fees for Saudi doctors. It should not be very high so that patients would not suffer and not so low so that the doctors would not suffer.

Our doctors are becoming like professional football players. They demand too much money from their clubs but their performance is not up to the mark.


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