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Fayez defends ‘blood fees’

Minister Nayef Fayez on Wednesday defended a decision imposing fees on blood units, saying that the measure aims to cut ministry funds spent on foreign patients.

In a joint press conference with the ministers of finance and state for media affairs and communications yesterday, Fayez said over 700,000 non-Jordanians live in the country and enjoy several health benefits that should be restricted to Jordanians.

“We are only concerned with providing healthcare at subsidised prices for Jordanians. Foreigners who live in the Kingdom should pay for these services,” the minister said, stressing that each unit of blood that is tested and screened costs the ministry JD60.

He pointed out that 87% of Jordanians have medical insurance either from the public or the private sector, adding that citizens without insurance can obtain medical exemptions from the Royal makruma.

The minister underlined that blood tests cost the ministry around JD6 million annually, adding that 50 per cent of all donated blood is unused and destroyed after expiring.

The Cabinet last week endorsed a decision imposing a JD15 fee on each blood unit for Jordanians not covered by health insurance and receiving treatment in public hospitals, and JD30 for those treated in private hospitals. Non-Jordanians will have to pay JD40 instead of JD20 for each unit of blood.

Earlier this week, the private medical sector and activists called on the government to reconsider its decision, saying that it might affect the competitiveness of the sector in the Kingdom.

Some experts warned that the number of people who voluntarily donate blood might drop, as some people may not like the idea of their blood being sold.

According to a copy of a document made available to The Times, the price of a plasma unit will be JD4 for Jordanians in public hospitals and JD8 in private hospitals, while it will cost foreign patients JD10. Blood filtering will cost Jordanians JD20 in public hospitals and JD40 in private hospitals, while foreigners must pay JD50.

The document also stated that the fees cover one-third of the related costs in public hospitals and 50 per cent of those in private health facilities.

It added that increasing fees on blood units in private hospitals aims to regulate the use of blood units in private hospitals as a large number of these units are tainted before being used.

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