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Friday, July 30, 2021

Cost of private healthcare PCR tests fixed following complaints

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The Ministry of Public Health has announced a fixed rate for PCR swab test at all private healthcare centres starting Thursday.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) set a fixed rate for PCR swab tests across all 44 approved private health centres and hospitals that offer the service following public complaints over expensive tests.

A fixed flat rate of QR 300 for the swab tests has now been imposed across the private health centres, the ministry said.

Test prices previously ranged from QR 400 to QR 500, causing many to vocalise concern over unaffordable services that they said caused a financial burden on families and those with low income, especially when compared to prices in neighbouring Gulf states.

Director of Health Facilities Licensing and Accreditation Department Noura Abdullah Al Mulla said the ministry will monitor the commitment of private healthcare facilities to ensure they stick to the new standardised price.

While the move to decrease prices was welcomed, some social media users online said the price was still expensive for low-income families.

This follows a Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) decision to temporarily stop the provision of PCR swabs for travellers at government-run centres to relieve pressure on medical teams amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Read also: ‘Expensive’ costs of private PCR tests sparks complaints

The move will be reviewed once the pressure is relieved, health officials said.

Qatar is now grappling with a second wave that has been linked to the more severe UK and South African variants of Covid-19. The new strains have caused an increase in daily cases, number of deaths, and ICU admissions.

This has pushed the country to introduce stricter restrictions to flatten the curve that include closing dine-in options at restaurants, decreasing work capacity in both private and public sectors, and limiting social visits that health officials have said contributed to the surge in cases.


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