PSMI renal patients go for a week without dialysis service, offer to pay striking nurses’ salaries

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By Staff Reporter

PREMIER Service Medical Investments (PSMI) ParkView hospital was on Monday forced to run around and bring back incapacitated nurses to serve patients who had gone for a week without dialysis services.
The situation turned ugly earlier this week after scores of patients converged at the hospital, along Baines Avenue, Harare, demanding that they be put on dialysis machines as some had already paid for the service.
During a meeting with management, some ten patients requested permission to pay salaries of renal unit nurses’ who had downed tools.
According to staff members, the hospital has 49 renal patients, after some transferred to other hospitals or centres due to poor service.
The patients threatened not to leave the hospital until management addressed their plight.
Park View Hospital is one of the few PSMI health facilities still open after several other clinics were shut down due to financial constraints being faced by the entity.
The nurses said they had not received salaries for over six months and this was confirmed by management during the meeting.
The payment initiative for workers at the renal unit was the brainchild of the patients who endured more than a week without the life-saving service but it was, however, rejected by the management.
“If we pay the affected staff for at least three days a week for the whole month, I think we can be attended to. We cannot afford the quotation from B. Brown (another dialysis centre) which is going for $1.3 million. Medical tests are going for US$85. It is much better to give that amount to a nurse from this hospital than to join a new institution,” a patient said.
The patients had agreed to pay US$5 per session for the crowd funding initiative.
A medical doctor in charge of the Hospital identified as Dr Utoka did not agree to the proposal saying, “Yes this is an extraordinary situation but this must not be construed as you have been allowed. We have an Act of Health that does not allow us to go that far. If it is an arrangement you do with the nurses, it’s up to you because as management, we are not part of that arrangement.
“PSMI has not given the patients permission to pay nurses. This issue is complex. Nurses can be struck off the register if this request is permitted. They can be fired.”
After a lengthy discussion on the matter, Dr Utoka promised the patients that the service would resume any day.
“We are waiting for funds that we requested for the payment of nurses’ salaries from the Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS). It is just a matter of time before they receive the salaries,” Utoka said.
One of the patients confirmed that those present were dialysed Monday evening.
“Those present were put on a dialysis machine this evening.”