Tehran, Jan. 15 The privatization of Iran's hospitals has led to people avoiding important surgeries for fear of rising hospital costs, according to a member of the Health Committee in Iran's Majlis (parliament).
"With putting this plan into action in hospitals, people are afraid that they would face long periods of time hospitalized with hefty bills", Jahanbakhsh Amini said in an interview with a state-run news agency.
Amini said that the privatization scheme resulted in higher hospital administration costs thus increasing patients' fees. He admitted that with the rise of costs of treatment, from the general population, only a minute fraction are able to afford proper health insurance.
"Many rural folk without medical insurance, after visiting their doctor, avoid hospitalization because of their financial situation", he added.
"Fear of repercussions for non-payment of hospital bills forces many people in hospital to disregard surgeons' advices to stay in hospital, with many not coming to hospital altogether, choosing to cope with their illnesses", Amini said.
Amini also criticized the government for its mishandling of the budget, saying that many nurses and hospital staff are underpaid and many are not paid their salary on a regular basis.
In late December, the head of Medical Department of University of Gilan revealed that more than half of Irans hospitals have declared bankruptcy in the past four years.
Dr. Fariborz Ghanaati stated that since the government introduced a scheme four years ago to privatize the majority of Irans hospitals, 350 out of the 550 hospitals throughout Iran have declared bankruptcy.