The government through the Ministry of Health have suggested that starting next year private hospitals all over the country will be charged a fee in order to access blood from the blood bank maintained and monitored by the ministry of Health with claims that they benefit a lot through charging patients for blood.
This is because private hospitals like Mengo, Lubaga and others collect processed blood from blood banks free of charge and considers giving it to patients at a cost.
According to Dr. Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Health told the media at a handover ceremony of blood donation vans to Mengo hospital yesterday states that; if private hospitals are charging patients for blood they should also pay for it (processing fee) at collection centres.
Ministry of Health offered two blood donation vans worth 120 million to Mengo hospital to ease field Medical Team Movement while collecting blood from the country side to Mengo hospital by rotary blood bank.
She says, the hospitals sell the blood to patients at a fee they call a processing fee and yet they obtain the blood from the blood banks at no cost.
Now Dr. Atwine says blood banks should start considering a service fee for every private hospital that picks blood from them.
“If I have a private hospital; Case clinic, Nakasero and they charge yet they don’t process blood, but they charge for that, somehow, they put processing fees, they charge yet they don’t process anything. So if they are coming here to pick blood then pay a fee for processing, I don’t see problem with that,” Dr. Atwine observed.
Likewise, she also said world wide there are no free services everything is served at a cost.
“You will find private hospital some where charging patients processing fee yet they do not pay for processing,” Dr. Atwine stated.
She further added that if these hospitals are paying for the blood they take then there’s “no crime in that; it is very appropriate.
Nevertheless, she says they are not intending to make profits from the fee to be imposed on private hospital but to sustain and share costs in the long process blood banks go through to process this blood.
She adds that it costs $40 an equivalent of 150.000ush to process one unit of blood.
“Imagine in the circumstances of shortages and we are not able to process. Blood was given free by somebody, but beyond just taking it from the veins, there is so much to process. Therefore, it’s not a crime to say we need to pay for the processing fee. So, for me I think this would be appropriate,” Dr. Atwine explained.
She adds that after the cost of blood processing is shared the issue of chronic shortage of blood in the country will be solved.
“We must come up with a policy that sets up services because when you go to private hospitals like Nakasero, they will charge you for blood yet we have given it for free,” she noted.
Finally, she said that hospitals should be equipped well to enable them collect and process blood fresh from the field.
On the other hand, this has caused mixed reaction most especially on social media with claims that this will force private hospitals to pass on the fee to the patients and hence charging a higher hospital bills.
By the time of publishing this story, Flash Uganda Media had tried to contact private hospitals directors and owners but in vain.
We shall keep you posted.