Some University Teaching Hospital members of staff have been accused of underhand methods involving medical examinations where laboratory staff do not issue receipts for money paid by patients.
And deputy Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has warned health workers against their involvement in illegal activities and that if found wanting, they risked losing their jobs.
Patients at the hospital complained that laboratory staff did not issue receipts for money they received for medical tests which resulted in some results going missing, hence delaying treatment.
The patients said some UTH workers were found loitering outside the laboratory including at the radiology department, advising patients to use a “fast track” method of paying them directly instead of the cashier.
Ms Josephine Mwanayombwe said she was made to pay twice after her laboratory tests went missing and she did not have proof of payment.
“They waylay patients along the corridors and tell you they are assisting you so that your results can come out quickly.
“But when the results go missing and you cannot even identify the one who attended to you, you are made to pay twice for the same tests since there is no receipt to show proof of payment and because initially they assure the people that the receipts would be ready with the results,” she said.
She said there was need for management to work out a system of payment which should only involve patients and the cashiers.
She explained that the situation was the same at the radiology department where staff offered discounts on high cost medical examinations, in some cases patients pay K200 or less for ultra sound instead of the official K250 charge.
Some people are reported to have received preferential treatment in the middle of long queues despite coming late for X-ray tests because they had paid staff at the hospital.
“It is the same with appointments, those with money get more convenient dates and those without are usually pushed far off even up to six months for review dates.
“We need something to be done to help put things in order in the health sector, because this has contributed to the number of deaths at the institution,” she said.
But Dr Chilufya said he was not aware of any such activities taking place at the hospital, but said investigations would be instituted to ascertain the situation and disciplinary measures be taken.
“It is illegal to waylay unsuspecting patients or members of the public, especially that there is already a laid down process of paying for the services.
“And if such activities are happening, then there is need to investigate and bring the culprits to book,” he said.
Dr Chilufya also called on hospital management to ensure all pay points were clearly marked and processes made public to ensure easy access for the people.
There have been several complaints of corruption levelled against employees of the largest referral health centre in the country, with demands growing for action to be taken.