By Nation Reporter
PATIENTS seeking treatment at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) will soon be paying 30 percent more if the proposed new fees are confirmed soon by management.
When contacted for a comment, UTH managing director Ben Chirwa referred all queries to public relations manager Mwenya Mulenga who confirmed the impending hikes.
Mr Mulenga said the move was still at planning stage awaiting confirmation.
He said the hospital was awaiting indicators from consultants engaged in the development, before they could effect the new charges.
This is the second time in less than a year that the largest health facility in the country was increasing user fees for its services including low cost and standard services.
Sources at the hospital revealed that management had gone ahead to increase the fees despite recommendation against the hike as it would cut off the ordinary Zambian from acquiring basic services as it would become too costly.
The source complained that a lot of people have been failing to meet the old charges especially for specialist tests such as X-Ray, Ultra sound and other laboratory tests whose charges were set as high as K60 for liver and kidney tests, K600 for HSG and K900 for CT scan among others. “The increase affects all fees paid at the hospital with both low cost and high cost services . We have services such as high cost X-Ray now costing K150 from previously K120, and low cost goes from K25 to K35. Management says it’s a way of meeting the institutional requirements in delivering the services, as well as the high business costs that come with the services,” the source said.
Some medical staff complained that it was disheartening to see people go away without some tests because they could not afford the charges even at low cost.
A check at the institution confirmed that high cost or premium charges had increased from K120 to K150 for consultation, minor and major surgeries were now pegged at K65 and K190 from K50 and K150 respectively and X-ray was K150 from K120.
UTH management has been spending huge sums of money in excess of K100,000 every week in the procurement of oxygen gas after the US$900,000 plant broke down less than two years after its installation due to lack of servicing.