Cashless payments at public healthcare centres

By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: Jan. 1: A part of the government’s efforts to streamline procedures and promote e-governance, the Ministry of Health has started implementing cashless transactions at public healthcare systems. Starting yesterday, both primary clinics and major government hospitals in Oman have started accepting payments through cards. Royal and Al Nahda hospitals and Seeb polyclinic have already announced that they would be accepting cards for payments to be made at the hospital. Saleh, an official at a healthcare centre in Muttrah, told the Observer, “Starting today, we have started accepting card payments even for amounts as small as 200 baisas. As we still have some elderly and women patients who don’t have any type of bank cards, we accept cash from them.”

He said there has been no deadline set to move to the complete cashless system, but it is part of the long-term strategy for e-governance. “It will help the Ministry of Health to organise its activities and link all healthcare centres operating under its umbrella.” He said it is too early to comment on the response to this system as it was only launched yesterday.  Currently, all transactions at Royal Oman Police including renewal of licences, civil and resident cards are effectively made through the bank cards. “I welcome this system but there is still a generation of people in Oman who do not use bank cards or even have accounts in their name.  “Bank activities are done through their children’s accounts if needed. Hope the government has taken their situation into the account,” said Zoya, whose elderly parents do not have bank accounts.