Low-income workers and those without debit and credit cards are having a hard time adjusting to the new e-cash payment system at Qatar’s primary healthcare centers (PHC).
Firstly, the centers have not instituted a grace period, despite a promise by PHC Department (PHCD) executive director Dr Maryam Ali Abdul Malik that the new system “will not put an immediate stop to cash payments.”
Secondly, many healthcare centers do not yet have the QNB e-cash vending machines that patients without debit or credit cards can use to purchase cards for as low as QR10.
And finally, the move from cash to electronic payments was designed to speed things along, but appears to have the opposite effect.
The Gulf Times reports:
A group of three Asian workers, an Indian man and an Arab woman were seen walking out of Al Wakrah health centre yesterday without buying their prescribed drugs as their cash payments were declined…
And even for those who were lucky to have an electronic card, the process was still not attractive as in those three health centres visited by Gulf Times, patients were seen waiting in queues in front of cash counters to make payments with credit or debit cards and the process was painstakingly slow.
There was a situation in one of the centres where staff were having difficulties figuring out how to use the swipe (card reading ) machines, which were obviously a new experience for them.
Read the full article here.
And tell us your thoughts: Have you visited your PHC lately? How smoothly did payment go?