Legislators question detention of patients

HARARE - Legislators yesterday spoke against the detention of patients at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals who fail to pay their medical bills.

Lawmakers in the Health and Child Welfare parliamentary portfolio committee, led by MDC legislator Ruth Labode, made the remarks during a familiarisation tour of the institution.

Fani Munengami, MDC MP for Glen View, questioned why patients were being detained.

“We are hearing reports that people are being detained for failure to pay their medical bills and we want to know whether it is true. If that is what is happening — what is the reason for such acts?’’ Munengami asked.

“There are also reports that patients are being turned away without receiving treatment despite having social welfare cards or medical aid cards and  are staying long in queues without receiving attention from the medical staff. Can you explain all these issues?”

Thomas Zigora, chief executive officer at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, informed the legislators that the hospital was owed $40 million by patients and had engaged three debt collectors and lawyers to recover the cash.

He admitted they were detaining patients as a way to arm-twist them to pay.

“We are forced to take desperate measures of detaining people and it should not happen that way but we are trying  to be tough with patients who would have received treatment — we need money to continue operating,” Zigora said.

He said the hospital was collecting $800 000 per month in user fees and needed at least  $ 2,5 million to run the hospital.

Legislators visited hospital wards and also toured the radiotherapy unit which was re-equipped with new machines that are used in the treatment of cancer.

Zigora told legislators that despite financial challenges the institution was facing, it remained one of the best equipped hospitals in the country with modern machinery.

Comments (1)

Its not Pari only

D Kasiya - 19 March 2014

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