Hospital withdraws plan to charge snakebite fees

National

By OGIA MIAMEL
THE Port Moresby General Hospital has reversed its plan to charge fees for snakebite patients after receiving a supply of anti-venom from the health department.
Hospital chief executive Dr Umesh Gupta said the hospital, which was planning to charge K15,000 for treatment from next Monday, received 10 vials of anti-venom from the department.
He said they were promised that there would be a continuous supply of it.
“Each vial per patient. Not every day we receive snakebite patients so it might last for three to four weeks. It depends,” he said.
“No user-fee will be charged. We had decided to charge user-fees because we ran out of anti-venom and we had other options to make up for it,” Gupta told The National.
Gupta had earlier issued a circular informing clinical coordinators, finance managers and revenue clerks to charge K15,000 for snakebite anti-venom cases.
Health Secretary Pascoe Kase had warned this week that hospital authorities had no authority to charge fees.
He said any fees must be approved by National Executive Council.
He said the government’s free healthcare policy was still in force and that all anti-venoms were paid for by the State and were to be provided for free to patients.
He said a new stock of snakebite anti-venom arrived last month and another was expected this month.

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