The Ministry of Health has shut down 19 private sector health facilities in and around the capital yesterday on a directive from Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah.
“The minister has ordered the closure of these facilities based on reports submitted by the field inspection team of the Directorate General of Health Affairs in Riyadh,” an official from the Ministry of Health told Arab News yesterday.
He added that the inspection team pays regular visits to the private facilities in the region to check the services. These include facilities such as ambulances, operation theaters and the professional suitability of medics and paramedics employed in these health institutions to make sure quality health services are provided to patients.
Since the orders were made subsequent to reports submitted by an inspection team from the ministry that had visited those facilities, the official said the closure was temporary and the facilities could be reopened when problems are resolved.
He said the reasons for the closure included working without licenses or functioning on expired licenses, a lack of trained medical staff, facilities and equipment.
Under the directive, the ministry has closed down eight polyclinics, four medical centers, one optical clinic, three skin care units inside hospitals and three clinics run by one doctor without nursing staff.
The spokesman explained that the skin care clinics were treating patients for cosmetic treatment, physiotherapy and hair care, while the one-man clinic did not have nursing staff to help patients.
He also said that actions clearly indicate the ministry's concern for the safety and welfare of the patients, who include citizens and residents of the country.
He warned that negligence and recklessness on the part of health providers will not be tolerated by the ministry and stern action will be taken against such violators.
“We treat the private sector as a strategic partner in providing health services. We want them to offer quality services with a patients-first approach in their ventures,” the official said.
In 2012, Al-Rabeeah launched a "Patient First" program to indicate the priority given to patients in the Kingdom.
Last year, the MoH closed down 30 medical complexes, 15 polyclinics, 29 pharmacies, 27 optical houses and five physiotherapy centers for violating government rules.
The ministry collected SR 3.75 million in fines from the violators. Erring pharmacies paid SR 1.98 million out of this amount.