(Persia Digest) - Deputy Director General of Iran’s Ministry of Health has said: “There is concern that this year fewer people will go to medical centers because of the economic pressures and rising costs of food, and so on.”

Dr Iraj Harirchi added: “Charities are expected to expand their healthcare services to counter this.”

On 17 June, Harirchi had already warned of fewer patients referring to medical centers due to financial difficulties, saying: “In 2012, we also witnessed a reduction in the number of patients by 5-7 percent, while this number should increase by 3-7 percent per year.”

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He reiterated: “To look on the bright side of a lighter workload, clinical guidelines, electronic health files, and designating GPs for families can be cited for this.” He added: “In this case, we can say fewer patients visit medical centers because they are healthier.”

Harirchi continued: “Currently, 30 percent of patients buy their medication using old prescriptions to save on doctors’ bills and this is rather worrying.”

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He added: “Under sanctions, people spend their money on necessities, such as food, clothing, and accommodation. Very often, they cut down on their medical bills.”

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