The Local Governance and Public Accountability Network, LOGOPAN, has called on health workers across the country to stop charging illegal medical fees at the various government hospitals.
According to a Press Release issued by the Executive Director, Gilbert Korbla Keklie and copied to Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Medical Association, All media houses, and social media platforms, LOGOPAN said its attention has been drawn to how Medical Doctors working with government health centres are charging illegal medical fees from innocent patients before rendering services.
They are therefore calling on the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Medical Association and other stakeholders in the health sector to caution Medical Doctors against this unethical practice, to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and report back to Ghanaians.
Below is the full story.
Barrister Barnes has issued a medical report by the police to go to any government hospital. She went to 37 Military Hospital in Accra. Bearing in mind the form is at the expense of the taxpayer. When she got to the hospital, she was told to pay for a card at the cost of Ghc10 and a consultation fee for Ghc20 in order to see the Medical Doctor which she duly obliged and paid. Prior to that, she had seen a Medical Doctor who told her there was a fee for writing such a report. She told him she is aware and the free is Ghs2.5 since it is a government hospital.
As soon as she said that, the demeanour of the health officer changed. He asked one junior officer to collect her folder and return to the unit and he will, in turn, refer her to his colleague. She did just that. She had been told by three other members of staff about this so-called charge and she kept telling them yes it clearly states on the form that the said fee is Ghc 2.50. After bringing the folder she was asked to see a Medical Doctor, the doctor had been informed about her refusal to pay anything more than the Ghc2.50 on the form.
The doctor insisted that he was not going to endorse the form unless she pays GHC 200. She told them what they are requesting for her to pay is not the stipulated amount and I refuse to pay and if they are refusing to endorse the form they should give her their names to make the relevant complaints. They refused to give their names. But she scanned their faces in memory. After flipping out a senior officer came to attend to her and said the matter will be sorted. The doctor doing what Ghanaians do best when in the position of power is to the power play and thus said he was all of a sudden attending to emergencies so she should go and sit down.
When they find the time they will attend to her. This was her punishment for standing up against corruption. The doctor told her categorically that should the case go to court, he will be called as a witness, and as such the two hundred cedis was for his fuel to court. She asked him so what if the case does not go to court, what happens? So she was now paying for an uncertainty. This is an unforeseen type of scenario. Bearing in her mind she had been at the hospital from 9am and by 2pm these people had refused to attend to me because of my refusal to pay a fee that is illegal.
A corrupt practice they are indulging in and now made it a law unto themselves. One told her that is the procedure and regulation here. What annoyed her was another patient telling her to just pay the money and stop arguing. They saw her sitting there for all those hours with my 5year old child. She handed the lady at the reception her folder and told her after paying for a consultation you have refused outright to offer the said services. Take the folder and you will hear from me in the press. I will not keep quiet about this, and the rest of Ghana must know the stink and rot in here. She was pleading with me, but I handed over the folder and left, said by the victim. These doctors had made themselves mini-gods. She left without being attended to. This President assured all Ghanaians to report corrupt officials and she starting with those Medical Officer at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.
She complained bitterly why she cannot also take money from witnesses for the purpose of court attendance. This filth and cancer must be eradicated fast.