Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, has described the increment in the price of kidney dialysis treatment at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital as illegal.
According to him, the hospital cannot change the fees or charges without first consulting Parliament, as the law states.
His comment follows the recent hike in the cost of kidney dialysis treatment at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital from ₵380 to ₵765.
KBTH’s Public Relations Officer, Mustapha Salifu, explained that this increment is as a result of the high taxes and import duties on consumables.
Government, Mr. Salifu disclosed, has removed the tax exemption on these consumables, hence the need to inflate the price to cover the cost of the service.
According to him, should the hospital revert to its old price, it may have to shut down the dialysis centre in a matter of days.
The increase in cost may soon be replicated in other regional hospitals across the country.
But speaking on the JoyFM Midday News, Mintah Akandoh said the hospital’s fees and charges are regulated by the Fees and Charges Act, thus any price change must be approved by parliament.
“To start with it is illegal because every public health facility, their fees and charges must be regulated by what we call fees and charges act. So your fees and charges must be approved by parliament. You just can’t sit at the hospital and fix fees or charges anyhow,” he said.
He added that as far as he is aware, no such issue has been put before the Health Committee, thus the price hike is illegal.
“And I am not aware from where I sit as a Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, I am not aware and I don’t know and we have not done such a thing, we have not approved that 765 they want to charge.
“So please, in as much as I agree that there’s high inflation, in as much as I agree there’s economic hardship going on, I think that citizens must not pay for the recklessness of government,” he said.
He had earlier called on the government to restore the tax exemption on the consumables to reduce the cost of treatment at the hospitals.
“We are calling on government to, as a matter of urgency, restore the tax exemptions on these items that have necessitated the astronomical increase in the cost of dialysis.
“It is quite unconscionable, highly unacceptable, we are talking about health care, we are talking about dialysis, something that you need not less than two or three times within a week, and you’re moving the price from 380 ghana cedis to 765.
“The government is so insensitive to the extent that now we’re pushing people into the grave. How can we do this? How?”
Source : adomonline