Patients in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) have protested arbitrarily charges by the management of the institution in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
Speaking separately to Newspot on Sunday at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, some patients lamented the charge of N2,100 each time they visit the hospital.
“I paid N6, 300 for the three days I visited the hospital, and they claimed that the money was meant for the retrieval of my folder. The hospital staff will not attend to you unless you produce an official receipt of N2, 100 before your folder is retrieved. If you are a new patient, you pay N2, 600 each, if you are asked to come back the next day, you pay another N2, 100,” a patient who declined giving his name stated.
Another patient, Chief Okon Akpan Udo said that he wondered why the institution should increase the retrieval of folder charge from N1, 000 to N2, 100.
“They have made things difficult for us. If you pay N2,100 for your folder, you imagine the cost of other things including tests to be carried out by the hospital.
“The annoying part of it is that if you come to the hospital on Monday, you pay N2, 100 and if your doctor asks you to come back on Tuesday, you pay another N2, 100 and similar things happen on Wednesday up to Friday.
“I have seen a patient that paid N10, 500 for retrieval of folder for five days he visited. He protested seriously but the Management did not do anything. He paid because of his health but protested bitterly,” Chief Udo revealed.
Chief Udo appealed to the management of the institution to review the policy and see what they can do to serve those who may need health services but have no money to pay, explaining that so many people have died because they have no money to take care of themselves.
When contacted on phone on Sunday, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee/Director Clinical Services and Training, Dr Ngim Ogbu said that the hospital has nothing to do as the institution has inadequate fund to render services.
“I think the proper thing to do, first of all is for them to tell you whether they paid into the hospital account. If that is done, it is official. The fact is that each time a patient interfaces with the Doctor, the nurses have gloves to wear, the Doctors have things to wear, there are lotions that are used and at this period, the cost of services are very high and nobody can pretend about that
“So the fact that they have to do that as far as they pay into the hospital accounts, that is proper. If they said they paid into personal account, I would say that is fraud but if it’s into the hospital’s account, it is the policy of the hospital,’ Dr Ogbu stated.
“When I told them we bought syringes and other consumables, they were surprised.
“Again, you have to run on electricity. You people need to know what it takes. We are struggling to keep services going. A truck of diesel is about N12m, and we use two of them in a month. The government allocation is hardly ever enough.
“There are too many things that are wrong with the system and the country as a whole. What is given in a three month cannot take care of the hospital in a month. And there are so many Nigerians who come here and cannot pay their bills, you must treat them and let them go, you can’t keep them there.”