PRIVATISATION of pre-employment medical tests for newly-hired expatriates in Bahrain is expected to bring down Health Ministry’s spending in this sector by more than 50 per cent. It will now have to spend only BD20 per employee for standard medical services, compared with the BD50 earlier, according to officials.
Health Minister Faeqa Al Saleh yesterday officially launched the system at 14 private medical facilities, earlier licensed to conduct the tests.
The ceremony, held at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Bahrain was attended by representatives from the ministry, the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA), the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and the Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA).
“The economic expansion and the growth in the number of expatriate workers over the past years have increased pressure on health facilities concerned with the medical examination of migrant workers,” said LMRA chief executive Ausamah Al Absi.
“One of the biggest benefits of this new system is that it will help the Health Ministry save a lot of money which can be used in other areas such as research for the development of a better future. The previous cost (for the ministry) was BD50. However, it will now be BD20 if the employer chooses the standard service.
“The premium service cost will depend on the facility chosen for the tests.”
Under the new plan, when submitting an application for a new work permit, the employer has the option to select two types of health check appointment services – standard or premium.
Under the standard service, which will cost BD20, appointments will be given based on availability across the approved private medical facilities.
The premium service will allow an employer to choose from a wide range of private medical facilities which include medical services, transportation and customer care assistance.
The cost of this service is subject to the standard rate of the medical facility.
The scheme is also expected to reduce the waiting time for employees at the centres from three months to less than 12 days, while results will be made available within a week.
“Al Razi Health Centre was the main centre providing this service (pre-employment health check-ups) and it was under a lot of pressure because it has
been unable to keep up with the burden of the increased number of expatriate workers,” said Ms Al Saleh.
This project is very important for Bahrain’s health security as it increases the country’s efficiency in tackling infectious disease and in ensuring the maximum possible ways to combat them, through the rapid completion of laboratory tests and medical analyses.”
The list of the 14 private health facilities are available on all related official websites (ministry, NHRA, LMRA and iGA).
“As of now, the period from when expatriate workers arrive in Bahrain until they receive the results from the LMRA is 120 days,” said ministry representative Dr Maha Al Jowder.
“This will be reduced to less than 12 days.
“However, Al Razi Health Centre will continue its monitoring and provisional role for one year.
“Medical examinations results will be ready in one week, as opposed to three months.
“Other benefits include faster detection of non-communicable diseases that may pose a threat to Bahrain’s health security, maintaining economic development, provision of optimal services and shorter time for transactions through the e-government website.”
NHRA chief executive Dr Maryam Al Jalahma, LMRA representative Mohammed Al Ahmedi, Health Ministry Medical Committee president Dr Aisha Hussain and iGA representative Mohammed Abdulaziz also spoke on the occasion.