Information stumbled upon by Today points to a rather worrying development at the country’s premier hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH).
This is in respect of a GH¢80 side-fee some patients of the KBTH are being made to pay as part of measures to maintain the 5th floor of the Maternity Block of the hospital.
Investigations conducted by the paper revealed patents, particularly pregnant who patronise the maternity ward of the state hospital are asked to pay an amount of GH¢80.00.
A copy of the certified receipt issued by the hospital on 30 July, 2017, sighted by Today, explains that the “GH¢80 is payment for Out Patient Department (OPD) Service-5th Floor Maintenance Fees (Ordinary).”
This new GH¢80 cedis charge has not only become a stand-out feature on patients’ hospital bills but also has stirred a bit of emotion among unamused payers who question the true logic and authority behind it.
The situation which has been going on at Korle Bu for some time now, Today understands, was agitating the minds of many patients who visit the hospital.
For many of the patients, it is a behind-the-scene tactics to squeeze extra cash off their weak purses in a bid to take advantage of their health problems.
Indeed, the very look of restrained disgust that has met this new toll has brewed a dark measure of suspicion and it continues to thicken day after day with no proper explanations heard from authorities.
Speaking to some patients who were asked to pay the ‘OPD Service- 5th Floor Maintenance Fees’ on condition of anonymity, they accused the authorities of Korle Bu of exploiting ordinary poor patients who go there for healthcare.
According to them, they cannot fathom why they should be asked to pay an amount of GH¢80 as maintenance fee of a so-called 5th floor.
Some even questioned the legality of the fee and whether Parliament had given them approval to collect such fees from patients.
They intimated that if Korle Bu needed to be maintained, then the authorities must use the proper channel; stressing that after all the hospital is being funded by Ghanaian tax payers.
Other patients also asked what had happened to the Trust Fund set up by the hospital.
According to them, the purpose for the setting up of the Trust Fund was to provide equipment and infrastructure for the hospital.
To this end, the visibly angry patients called on the government to urgently look into this matter.
When Today contacted the Public Relations Officer of KBTH, Mustapha Salifu, on the matter, he said he was not aware of such a fee. He, however, said he will get our reporter a response in thirty minutes.
But, as at the time of going to press, the PRO of KBTH has not reacted to the story.
Story: Kwamena Ananse & Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu