Gweru Hospi­tal floun­ders as pa­tients fail to pay

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pa­tience Mut­siwi

ABOUT $1, 7 mil­lion owed to Gweru Provin­cial Hospi­tal by pa­tients and med­i­cal aid so­ci­eties is crip­pling op­er­a­tions at the health in­sti­tu­tion.

The hospi­tal’s med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent, Dr Fabian Mashin­gaidze, told The Chron­i­cle yes­ter­day the hospi­tal was strug­gling to pro­cure es­sen­tial med­i­ca­tion for pa­tients.

He said the debt has been bal­loon­ing over the past years be­cause as a govern­ment in­sti­tu­tion, the hospi­tal does not chase pa­tients who do not have ad­mis­sion fees.

“Last year the debt was $1, 1 mil­lion. This year it has in­creased to about $1, 7 mil­lion. This is money owed to us by in­di­vid­ual pa­tients and those com­ing through the med­i­cal aid so­ci­eties who ac­cessed our ser­vices with prom­ises of set­tling their med­i­cal bills later on.

“This is now re­sult­ing in us fail­ing to re­plen­ish med­i­cal sup­plies and other equip­ment,” said Dr Mashin­gaidze.

“PSMAS owes us about $700 000 and we still ac­cept their clients in the hope that they will set­tle their debt soon.”

In terms of drugs avail­abil­ity at the in­sti­tu­tion, Dr Mashin­gaidze said they had 41,5 per­cent of vi­tal drugs, 29,3 per­cent of es­sen­tial drugs and five per­cent of nec­es­sary drugs.

“Vi­tal drugs are those that must be there al­ways in case of emer­gency while es­sen­tial drugs are not as crit­i­cal as vi­tal and nec­es­sary drugs are sup­posed to be there but if they are out of stock, there is no harm to the pa­tient,” he said.

In the past, the hospi­tal has en­gaged debt col­lec­tors al­beit with lit­tle suc­cess as the govern­ment is against such a move.

The Min­is­ter of Health and Child Care Dr David Parireny­atwa has in the past dis­cour­aged health in­sti­tu­tions from tak­ing de­fault­ing pa­tients to debt col­lec­tors urg­ing them to look at al­ter­na­tive ways of re­cov­er­ing their money. — @ patiemt­siwi.

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