Mahlab orders free treatment in emergency cases
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab issued Thursday a decision that compels private and public hospitals to provide free medical treatment for emergency cases, Youm7 reported.

Mahlab said the decision comes according to the provisions of Law No. 51 for 1981 adding that according to the new law, the treatment is free for the first 48 hours during which hospitals are required to contact the family of the injured, Mahlab said.

After the first 48 hours, patients at private hospitals would be given two options, said Mahlab; they would either stay and pay treatment expenses or be transferred to the nearest public hospital.

The decision stated that allocations of the state’s general budget would cover the treatment expenses and that a patient is not to be escorted to another hospital before informing the regional governmental health center.

A number of hospitals fell under scrutiny in June, after a victim of a brutal sexual assault was refused admission because she could not pay upfront for treatment.

Soha Hosni, a friend of the victim, Ikram, told CBC channel in early June that the two spent 12 hours in an ambulance looking for a hospital that would treat her friend’s injuries.

Osama al-Abd, head of Al-Azhar University, visited its Al-Zahraa hospital following the incident and prohibited staff from refusing patients requesting care.

Additional reporting by Hend Mokhtar.

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