BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said Thursday that the government-run Rafik Hariri University Hospital could be shut down as a result of substandard facilities and low standards.
“The Rafik Hariri University Hospital is dying, and the government has two choices, either [formulate] a radical solution or close it down,” Abu Faour said at a news conference following his meeting with the head of the Association of Private Hospitals, Sleiman Haroun.
The minister said he was in the process of preparing a full plan to present to the Cabinet.
Media reports have emerged recently over corruption in the hospital, which was inaugurated in 2004. Reports have also cited the hospital’s inability to provide medications to patients suffering from chronic diseases.
Abu Faour said he discussed with Haroun comments concerning some hospitals’ performance, but insisted that he was not generalizing about or treating unjustly hospitals that were doing their job well, cooperating with the Health Ministry’s legal standards and abiding by moral and humanitarian criteria.
“There are a large number of hospitals that are committing violations and are not respecting the signed agreement with the Health Ministry or the patient’s health and dignity,” he said.
Abu Faour stressed that he “would not tolerate these hospitals and would not be lenient with whoever violates the signed agreement with the Health Ministry, even if matters required the strictest measures and decisions,” adding that those doing otherwise would be “embraced” by the government.
Haroun said the outcome of the meeting was positive, describing the minister’s formula as “reasonable and legal” and respecting hospitals’ rights so long as they performed their duties.
Also Thursday, Abu Faour met with United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos and discussed different ways to cooperate over files of common interest.
He also met with Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan, former minister Elias Skaff and former MPs Mansur al-Bawn and Misbah al-Ahdab.