No one to be turned away from hospitals for failing to pay – Govt

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

GOVERNMENT hospitals and clinics will not turn away any patients for failing to pay services, Health Ministry secretary Agnes Mahomva has said.

Mahomva was responding to a public and stakeholders outcry following concerns the recent hike in hospital charges could disadvantage a lot of people who cannot afford the payments.

“The fee list that is circulating that the public is very concerned about is an internal tool that was for provincial medical directors, our CEOs for central hospitals so that they are able to claim from medical aid societies for patients that they will have seen free of charge,” Mahomva said.

“Our policy as Ministry of Health and Child Care has not changed at all. We continue to treat the vulnerable, the indigent, vulnerable groups such as maternity, women who are admitted to antenatal care, under five children, elderly who are above 65. Those groups we continue to see free of charge.

“So, to the public out there, I would like to plead with you not to panic because we are there to serve you, to help you and to work with you.”

Mahomva added, “If you are to present yourself to a clinic or hospital, you will be assessed…there is no one who will be turned away because they are unable to pay.

“However, we want to provide you quality services. This is why we have also taken the opportunity to re-look at our fees so that we have some resources that enable us to provide that service that you need.”

Last week, there was a circular indicating that public hospitals have hiked their fees by 600% with effect from the 1 January this year.

The new fees will see patients seeking treatment for chronic illnesses paying $100, up from $15.

Maternal ward antenatal patients will fork out $200 at Parirenyatwa Hospitals and central hospital $160.

For caesarean section, mothers will pay 2 500 at Parirenyatwa Hospital and 1000 at district hospitals.