Issuing bills at state hospitals a harebrained project – doctors

By Don Asoka Wijewardena   

The Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) yesterday dismissed as ill-advised the Health Ministry’s decision to issue all inpatients, at state hospitals, with bills mentioning the cost of treatment incurred by the state. Patients are not required to pay for treatment and this move is aimed at raising public awareness of the cost of public health care, according to the Health Ministry.

As the costs of heart surgery, haemodialysis and the cesarean operation were higher at state hospitals than at some private hospitals, the GMOF is of the view that after the introduction of bills the private sector may be tempted to increase their charges.

The GMOF pointed out that the budgetary allocations for 2013 to print bills had not been made. Wasteful expenditure and additional costs, the health sector incurs, owing to inefficiency and corruption too would be included in the bills to be issued, it said.

 A doctor in the Forum told The Island that some heart bypass surgeries performed in the private hospitals were cheaper than at the state-run hospitals. A patient undergoing haemodialysis in the private sector was charged only Rs. 5,000 whereas its cost at government hospitals amounted to Rs. 30,000 per patient. 

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