hospital corridor

Some patients at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba in Lagos State on Thursday groaned over exorbitant billings by the hospital.

The patients  speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that they paid for services not fully rendered to them by some of the dental unit of the hospital.

A  dental patient, Mr Olufemi Ojo, said that the management of the hospital were extorting  them.

He said that on the first day he visited the hospital, he was asked to pay N2,500 for card registration.

“After paying for the card registration, I was asked to pay another N7, 000 for extraction and cleaning session.

” I was asked to come back on a later date for the completion of the treatment session because the dentist handling my case told me that he was tired that day.

“When I got back on  the next date for my appointment for the completion of the cleaning session, I was told to pay another  N1,875 to access my card.

“I had to pay them for bringing out my card for a job a member of  staff at the dental therapy unit could not finish the first day due to their fault,” he said.

Another patient, Miss Florence Adesoji, corroborated Ojo’s claims by saying that the  members of staff of the hospital would first waste the time of patients before they would  start a session they know they would not be able to complete same day.

She said that the medical personnel  in the unit knew quite alright that they would not be able to  complete a particular session in a day, but would embark on it only to ask the concerned patient to come back at a later date.

“On the appointed date, you would be asked to pay a fee before accessing your card without even asking what you came to do.

ALSO READ: Government alone cannot fund healthcare sector — CMD LUTH

“I think the appropriate thing is to ask if such a patient was coming with a new case or for the completion of an old case. I don’t think it  is right to ask patients to pay to access their cards for completion of treatment that was suspended by the medical personnel.

“At times, you don’t necessarily have to go through treatment but to see an expert and get advice. But the new policy of the hospital management is once you want to access your card, you must pay,” she said.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof Chris Bode, in his response said that there was the need by the public to do a market survey in other hospitals to compare their charges with  the charges for  services rendered to the public by LUTH.

“You should try and do a market survey at other setups; private sector and abroad to have a sense of balance before such a critique.

“Do you have any idea of what it takes to set up each dental unit, a dental chair, materials and equipment used, cost of constant electricity provided by LUTH, manpower?

“It is after the computation of these that you can form a fair opinion. I shall await your findings. Nothing good and qualitative comes free.

“What they pay for are sessions of service. All facilities, drugs etc used at each session we also paid to procure.

“My crown job took two-days and I had to pay for the different sessions. You can’t simply deny that all facilities to be used at subsequent sessions be wished away as free.

“When you are working on biological entities, to do the best job, the specialist takes as much time as required as no two persons are equal. No two extractions are the same.

“They do take as much time as each person requires. That person will pay for service sessions as required,” Bode said. (NAN)

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