Pay up, hospital says

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The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014


THE Angau Memorial Hospital, in Lae, will continue to charge fees for basic health services until the Health Department formally advises it of the free health care policy.

Hospital chief executive officer Dr Polapoi Chalau said that yesterday after patients complained they were still paying fees for treatment they received.

Health Secretary Pascoe Kase had said the free health care policy was effective from Monday.

Kase said people seeking specialist health care at public and church-run hospitals would only pay half the cost.

“Fees will still be charged,” Chalau said. 

“I want the public to bear with us until things are sorted out.”

Chalau said the policy would be implemented but not immediately because it would take time for paperwork to be done and hospital processes realigned with the new policy.

“I cannot confirm a date (for free health care services) as yet but a billboard will be put up at the hospital to show the changes once things are sorted out,” Chalau said.

“Our main priority now is to implement that decision.”

Chalau said health and education were two important government services and he was satisfied with the decision to provide free health care to the people.

He said Angau already provided free health care to children below 12 years, plus HIV, TB and cancer patients.

He said when the free healthcare policy was implemented, all in-patient, out-patient and ante-natal care would be free, including other services offered as primary healthcare.