The approval rate, in September, for an Israeli permit to leave Gaza for treatment abroad, for those injured in the March of Return protests near the border fence with Israel, was significantly lower than the overall approval rate: one of 18 applications, or 1%, was approved; one denied; and 16 delayed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, in its monthly report on health access for Palestinian patients in the occupied territories, published on Wednesday.

It said that, overall, only 58% of applications for a permit to leave the besieged enclave, through Israel, for medical treatment in East Jerusalem or West Bank hospitals, were approved in September.

A total of 1,074 (555 male; 519 female), or 58% of the 1,837 applications to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, in September, were approved. Over a third (37%) of permits approved were for children under age of 18, and almost a fifth (22%) were for elderly people over 60 years of age.

The report said 95 patient applications (66 male; 29 female), or (5%) of the total, were denied permission to cross Erez, for health care, in September. Those denied included seven children under the age of 18 years and 14 patients aged 60 years or older.

A total of 18% of denied applications were for appointments in neurosurgery, 17% for ophthalmology, 17% for orthopedics, and 12% for cancer treatment and investigation. More than 90% of denied permit applications were for appointments at hospitals in East Jerusalem or the West Bank.

WHO said that 668 patient applications (394 male; 274 female), or 36% of the total, were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment.

Of these, 161 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 71 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older. Of the 668 delayed applications, 16% were for appointments in oncology, 15% for orthopedics and 10% for ophthalmology. The remaining 59% were for 26 other specialties.

Of the 1,837 applications to cross Beit/Hanoun Erez for health care, in September, 30% were for children under age of 18, 17% were for patients over the age of 60 and 45% of applications were for female patients.

Two-thirds (67%) of applications to cross Erez were for appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals, less than a fifth (18%) were for Israeli hospitals and less than one in six (15%) were for hospitals in the West Bank.

Makassed Hospital (29%) and Augusta Victoria Hospital (29%), both in East Jerusalem which the United States recently stopped all funding to, received three-fifths of referrals.

Permit applications for the top five specialties accounted for more than three-fifths (63%) of referrals: oncology (30%); hematology (9%); pediatrics (9%); orthopedics (8%); and ophthalmology (7%). The remaining referrals were for 25 other specialties, according to WAFA.

(photo: Al Ray archive image)