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Hon. Thomas Ampem Nyarko, the member of Parliament for Asuogyamang in the Eastern region has rescued some patients who were detained at the Volta River Authority Hospital for their inability to pay their medical bills.
Notable amongst the patients who were rescued by the MP were nursing mothers who went through cesarean sections but could not foot their medical bills.
The NDC MP upon hearing the plights of these patients, delegated the Constituency Secretary of the party with an amount of GHc 4,356 to help release the patients.
The practice of detaining people in hospitals for non-payment of medical bills is common in secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities in Ghana.
But for the timely intervention of the legislator, the patients would have been detained at the hospital till they gather the money to pay for their bills.
In Ghana, the practice of detaining patients for their inability to pay their medical bills is very high.
According to reports, a total of four hundred and thirty-one (431) patients treated and discharged at the Eastern Regional Hospital between January and June last year, but could not pay their medical bills were detained.
It took the intervention of the department of social welfare to relieve them of their bills.
The Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Akoto Ampaw said during an interaction with the media in Koforidua said;
“As a policy in this Hospital we save lives before we look at money so even if you don’t have money we will take care of you. so these patients requested for deferred payment which some have paid but majority have not which is quiet problematic
Management of the hospital says the phenomenon continues to deteriorate the finances of the hospital.
According to the Doctor, the hospital lost about Ghc350,000 in 2018 to about 75 poor and needy patients who could not pay their Medical bills hence absconded while some 212 signed undertaken to pay their bills in installments.
The practice of detaining patients for inability to pay medical bills has however been criticized as it said to deter healthcare use, increases medical impoverishment, and is a denial of international human rights standards, including the right not to be imprisoned as a debtor, and the right to access to medical care.
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