Effective July 1, Qatar’s primary healthcare centers (which operate under Hamad Medical Corp.) will no longer accept cash payments, the Supreme Council of Health has announced.
The sudden news has stirred concern in the community, particularly among Qatar’s elderly and low-income expat residents, many of whom do not have debit or credit cards.
Sources said the decision was made to help ease transactions in the healthcare centers. Qatar already mandates cashless payment of services at the Ministry of Interior, Labor and some health departments, including the Medical Commission.
The Peninsula reports:
Medicines are offered at very low prices which in normal cases do not exceed QR25. Sometimes the cost of medicines would be as low as QR3 or QR4.
Several expats who don’t hold bank cards wondered if they would be forced to open a bank account just for paying these meagre sums for medicines at the health centres…
“I am get my salary in cash. Part of it is spent here and the remaining is sent to my family back home. I never thought of opening a bank account since I don’t have any savings,” lamented an Indian worker.
Those who do not have a debit or credit card can get a rechargeable card from Qatar National Bank (QNB), which will be made available at all major health centers.