Govt denounces detention of patients over unpaid bills


HARARE – Government has denounced the “inhuman” practice of hospitals detaining patients till their medical bills were paid.

Deputy Health minister Aldrin Musiiwa vowed in Parliament last week to take action against hospital administrations who detain patients for failing to pay hospital fees, and apologised on behalf of government for the actions that some hospitals were taking against patients.

“Government policy is for patients to access treatment. In cases where they are assessed and we feel they must pay, a payment arrangement must then be made where the patients are discharged and be able to go and find money to pay when they are able to pay.

“I want to assure this House that we will take action, and particularly for those administrative hospitals that do not follow instructions. We have actually given instructions that it is not government’s policy and it is not acceptable for them to detain patients,” Musiiwa said.

Musiiwa was responding to inquiries by Warren Park MDC legislator Elias Mudzuri on what government’s position was regarding the detention of defaulting patients at hospital verandas.

“That same patient has been in hospital from Friday to Monday detained after your instruction (to release the patient), which means it is like turning a blind eye or involved in corruption and there is no action taken when such things happen, then it means that becomes policy by mere negligence. Can the minister confirm that he is taking action to communicate to the public to say this is not acceptable and if it happens, they must have a route where to complain?” Mudzuri questioned during question and answer time.


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