JERUSALEM, Wednesday, August 07, 2019 (WAFA) – In June, the Palestinian Ministry of Health approved 49 referrals for Gaza patients and 343 referrals for West Bank patients, including 17 from Jerusalem, to Israeli hospitals, reflecting a decline in referrals to Israeli hospitals since the decision in March to stop referrals to Israeli hospital, said the World Health Organization (WHO) in its monthly report on health access for Palestinian patients.
For comparison, in 2017 there was an average of 346 referrals for Gaza patients and 1,010 referrals for West Bank patients to Israeli hospitals each month.
In June, 73% of Gaza referrals required Israeli-issued permits to reach hospitals in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, said WHO.
Israel approved 68 percent of these applications, 7% higher than the previous month and similar to the average approval in the first quarter of the year, while 12 percent were denied and 20 percent were delayed, it explained.
Those denied, it added, included 50 children under the age of 18 years and 29 patients aged 60 years or older; 11% were for oncology.
Of the delayed cases, 115 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 57 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older; 20% of those delayed had appointments for oncology.
The approval rate of those injured in the March of Return protests was significantly lower than the overall approval rate, said WHO, with 18% (100 applications) approved, 27% (150) denied and 55% (312) delayed.
Of the patient companion applications, 52% of the total were approved, 17% were denied and the remaining 31% were delayed. Each patient is allowed one companion.