Mar 21, 2018

Health Minister to issue bills to patients

In future, patients receiving treatment from government hospitals would be issued a bill detailing the cost of treatment, medicines and other expenses, based on a concept of Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, said the All Ceylon Nurses Union, issuing a statement.

The statement said the country’s health sector runs on funds obtained from the people’s taxes. The previous government had reduced a large portion of the allocation made through the budget for health services; this government too is following the same path.

As a result, diseases such as dengue are fast spreading and even kidney disease and other non communicable diseases are on the rise. However, it is the responsibility of the government to implement a proper plan to provide patient care, identify diseases and provide health advice.

Patients flock at hospitals from early morning and waste their time, eventually having to purchase their medicines privately. The Health Minister should focus his attention to resolving this issue. Facilities should be developed so that people can fulfill their medical requirements through hospitals in their own areas.

Issuing bills serves no purpose but to make people feel obligated. This is not a new experience for us nurses, but it is a novel concept for the people.

We believe that this issuing of bills is not for the benefit of the patient but some sinister plan to charge the patients at least some proportion of these charges at some point.

It is also known that certain health unions have extended their support to the minister in this regard. Recently the government had also included the duty of having to write bills, in the condition for the payment of overtime for nursing and auxiliary services staff.

But the nursing staff retaliated and it developed into a protest forcing the minister to take a step back.

The release further noted that the nurses are committed to defeating the government’s plan to destroy the people’s free medical facilities.


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