The Ministry of Health has repaid its outstanding debt from 2011 to the University of Jordan Hospital (UJH), Health Minister Abdul Latif Wreikat said on Tuesday. Although the hospital submitted JD21 million in outstanding bills to the ministry, he noted, “after auditing these bills, we found out that the total amount owed was only JD9 million”. In addition to these bills, JD1.9 million was paid from public expenditures. “We also paid them a JD5.5 million advance to cover future expenses,” the minister added. UJH President Mjalli Muhailan declined to comment on the issue. Every year, the ministry pays an average of JD256 million to private, university and military hospitals for patient referrals. “If patients cannot be treated in one of the ministry’s hospitals, or if beds are unavailable, they are referred to another facility affiliated with our partners,” Wreikat said in a previous statement. To eliminate this financial burden, a plan is under way to develop the ministry’s facilities and provide them with doctors in underserved specialisations, the minister noted. Wreikat’s remarks about the outstanding debt were made at a press conference at Prince Hamzah Hospital yesterday, where he also announced the inauguration of a cardiovascular disease unit at the hospital. With a capacity of 50 beds, the unit is part of the ministry’s plan to develop its services and gradually stop referring its beneficiaries to other hospitals. The plan also includes opening an organ transplant unit at Al Bashir Hospital. Meanwhile, the ministry has sent 30 public sector physicians to Italy for training on organ transplantation and will contract retired surgeons from the Royal Medical Services to perform surgeries that its doctors are not qualified to perform.