A recent move by Primary Healthcare Corporation (PHCC) stopping walk-in consultations at its dental clinics has irked citizens and expatriates.
The decision took effect last December 1.
Several residents surveyed by a local Arabic daily said the move had forced them to shell out huge amounts at expensive private clinics.
As per the new rule, patients are required to take a prior appointment to see a doctor at dental clinics of primary health centres, said the daily.
Dr Ahmed Abdul Kareem, Director, Abu Backer Health Centre, said the decision was taken due to the crowding at dental clinics. There are a doctors compared to the number of visitors. However, emergency cases are looked after in limited numbers.
He said the problem would be solved with the opening of six health centres by the second quarter of this year. Each will have 10 dental clinics, he added.
He said another problem causing delays is that some patients with prior appointment do not inform in advance if they are not showing up.
Mohammed Al Qahtani, a citizen, said he was shocked by the decision since many people prefer the nearest health centre for dental services.
“The only option for people seeking emergency care is to go to a private facility. Private dental clinics are very expensive.”
He said private clinics are also now crowded like government clinics as many are included in the national health insurance scheme — Seha. Citizens can now seek treatment at these centres under health insurance cover.
“The solution is to increase dental clinics at primary health centres to protect the public from greedy private clinics,” said another citizen.
Another citizen said people living outside Doha are in a worse situation since not enough private dental clinics there are included in Seha.
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