Omanis lead expats in visit to private hospitals

Muscat, Sept 1 – Omanis outnumbered expatriates in the outpatient visits to private health institutions in 2017, according to the Ministry of Health’s Annual Report 2017. Citizens are offered free healthcare in the government hospitals. Out of the nearly four million (3,868,742) outpatient visits to the private health institutions, 50.6 per cent (1,958,757) of these were made by citizens as against 1,909,985 by non-Omanis or expatriates, says the report, which highlights key statistics in Oman’s healthcare sector, both public and private.
In 2016, 2,051,481 Omanis (51.1 per cent) visited private institutions as against 1,962,776 non-Omanis.
A total of 394,037 Omanis visited private general clinics in 2017.
Private dental clinics (72,667), polyclinics and special clinics (1,024,453) and hospitals (450,633) received Omani outpatients in large numbers.
On average, private health institutions saw 5,367 Omani outpatients a day as against 5,233 non-Omanis.
The private health sector in Muscat received the maximum number of Omani outpatients (642,660) and South Al Batinah the lowest at 93,110.
There were 21 private hospitals (725 beds) in 2017 in Oman as against 19 (667 beds) in 2016.
“One of the reasons behind more Omanis visiting private health institutions is the development of health insurance and quicker appointments. It is also easy to meet the same doctor in a hospital during each appointment,” said Shadad al Balushi, an Omani employee in the private sector.
“I think appointments and long waiting hours are reasons why Omani patients opt for the private sector despite the free treatment in government hospitals,” said a senior doctor, Ministry of Health clinic, Ruwi.
The Ministry of Health’s institutions received 14,994,707 Omani outpatients (95.3 per cent) with an average of 41,081 visits per day as against 797,839 non-Omanis at the rate of 2,186 visits a day.
The mean number of visits for Omanis was six compared with 0.4 visits for non-Omanis.
Among Omanis, the mean number of visits of male children (less than five years) per year was 10.2 and number of visits of female children (less than five years) per year was 8.6, said the report. The visits by Omani children and women outpatients were more frequent than those of men.

Vinod Nair