Payment for psychiatry care services against the law- Dr. Ohene

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The Head of Psychiatry Department at the University of Ghana Medical School, Dr Sammy Ohene has described the fees being charged by Accra Psychiatric Hospital authorities as illegal.

He argued that the Hospital is not required to generate income, noting that “the law says that Ghana will provide Psychiatric services to the end user free,  which presupposes that the people of Ghana taxes will be used to support the hospital.”

Speaking on the Big One on TV3’s News @ 10 Wednesday night, Dr. Ohene said although he appreciates the current situation at the Hospital, it is against the law for authorities to charge for services rendered.

Management of the hospital on Wednesday begun charging for some services which were hitherto free of charge as they announced increment in service charges to meet the high cost of essential non-medical consumables needed for the provision of uninterrupted care to patients.”

The Management noted that “these fees are only to supplement funding by the central government towards the provision of mental health care, and do represent the full cost of care,” hence urged all to cooperate to ensure the smooth operation of the facility.

According Dr Ohene the Hospital has this year not received any money from the government and that monies received were from the Mental Health Authority which in itself has not received any money from the government.

“It’s a very dire situation…caught in a situation like this, the only options is to charge, which I must say, is strictly against the law,” he said

“This year, and I believe last year, absolutely no money whatsoever has been given to the hospital… it’s even a miracle they’ve remained open up till now.I’m not even sure that what they will generate from this will be enough to do very much,” he said

Implications

On the implication of the development, he said people who cannot afford the new service fees will turn to herbalists and spiritualn healers in an attempt to get psychiatry care

“When people can’t afford the services, … it means that many people are going to resort to ineffective treatment like herbalists and all sort of spiritual homes and things”, Dr. Ohene said and urged Ghanaians to speak up.

By: Stephen Kwabena Effah/3news.com

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