Tamale- Some clients have complained that staff of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) demand unauthorized payments from them, which tend to increase the cost of health care delivery.
The clients, who raised the allegations on five broad themes including effectiveness of payment system for patients, availability and accessibility of medicine/service to patients, affordability of medicines/health services to patients, therefore scored TTH 41 per cent for health care delivery.
This formed part of the fighting unapproved charges for health services (FUCHASS) project implemented in the Tamale Metropolis by Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development in partnership with League of Youth Association with funding from STAR-Ghana.
The project was to draw the attention of hospital authorities to perceptions of citizens on some forms of unapproved fees charged at health facilities in the Metropolis and to create space for them to restore confidence of citizens in accessing quality health service by dealing with corruption at the hospitals.
As part of the project, citizens with assistance of a community scorecard tool, assessed the performance of the hospitals and also gave their experiences on extortion and payment of unapproved fees at the hospitals.
The citizens’ scorecard assessing the hospitals was presented at a forum in Tamale on Thursday.
On the issue of effectiveness of payment system for patients, clients said, Even though there is proper payment system for services at TTH, certain health workers have gone behind the system and extort clients.
They complained of paying GH?400.00 at the theatre for caesarean section to deliver babies without being issued official receipts while others said some nurses demand money before clients are allowed to see their babies.
According to the scorecard, Some men at Dohanayili complained of paying GH?20.00 to health workers without receipts provided before they were told the sex of their babies and others also disclosed that an amount of GH?1,000.00 was demanded before dead bodies of their relatives were released from the mortuary to them and this payment did not come with receipts.
On the issues of availability and accessibility of medicine/service to patients, clients reported that staff of TTH kept referring them to private clinics/pharmacies to seek medical services or purchase drugs.
According to the scorecard, some clients perceived that personnel at TTH owned or had interest in those private clinics/pharmacies that they always referred them to.
On the issue of affordability of medicines/health services to patients, Clients that are covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme are of the view that usually when they are told of the unavailability of medicines at the hospital and are referred to a service provider (pharmacy), they are made to top-up money when they go to these pharmacies.
On the issue of equal/fair treatment/care to patients, clients said there was no fairness at the hospital as there was favouritism in the form of jumping of queens/turning of folders to favour rich patients, relatives and friends of health workers.
On the issue of attitude/behaviour (punctuality), kindness, respect of staff to patients, clients said health workers spent more time on their phones and watching television instead of attending to them.
Patients, who visited Tamale Central Hospital and Tamale West Hospital also raised similar concerns and based on the scorecard rated them 29 per cent and 38 per cent respectively for health care delivery.
Dr Ken Osei Mensah, Public Relations Officer of TTH, admitted the issues raised by the clients saying TTH’s authorities had taken steps to address the situation to ensure improved health care delivery.
Dr Osei Mensah said all payments for services rendered at the hospital must be receipted advising clients to make official payments to the accredited bank at the hospital or report staff that demand money without issuing receipt for appropriate actions to be taken against them.
Mr Adam Baani, Regional Anti-corruption Focal Person at the Northern Regional Office of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, called for improved doctor-patient communication to ensure proper diagnosis and better treatment for patients.
Source: Ghana News Agency