After promising to “alleviate” Morocco’s persisting public health issues, new health minister Khalid Ait Taleb is now asking Moroccan hospitals to put patients’ lives first.
Rabat – Khalid Ait Taleb, the newly appointed Moroccan Minister of Health, has “firmly instructed” hospitals around the country to change the way they treat patients in need of urgent medical care.
In a “circular note” addressed to directors and presidents of regional and provincial hospitals and health centers across Morocco, Taleb urged Moroccan health practitioners to only charge patients in emergency situations after providing medical treatment.
In his note, the minister insisted on the “ethical necessity” for Moroccan hospitals to respect that fundamental medical rule of putting the patient’s life before any other considerations.
While the minister’s “firm instructions” are set to be welcomed in some quarters as a breath of fresh air for Morocco’s roundly criticized medical sector, the point raised in the circular note is neither new nor radical, Al Ahdath Al Maghribia reported on November 28. The minister’s note came with a reminder that Article 42 of the status of hospitals in Morocco, which has been around for decades, is all about putting patients first.
The article speaks of doctors’ and hospitals’ ethical obligation to “receive any patient, injured or a pregnant woman in emergency situations.” The article adds, “[Patients] should be hospitalized when their cases so require, and even when there are not enough hospital beds. Payment can only be discussed following provision of the necessary medical care.”
To avoid misunderstandings, however, the note emphasized that the insistence on only paying after all medical assistance has been provided does not “exonerate” patients from paying their medical bills.
The news follows reports of the health ministry’s plans to address Morocco’s persisting public health issues. Earlier this month, Minister Taleb, while presenting his department’s budget and capacity building projects for next year, was clear that the resources available are not enough to tackle the country’s numerous and increasing public health issues.
He however promised an “optimal use” of resources to reasonably address some of the priorities in the sector, including capacity building and renovation works, as well as updating emergency services in hospitals across the country.