The CEO’s decision to charge a hefty fee of K15, 000 for snake bite anti-venom at the Port Moresby General Hospital was found to be contradictory to Government’s Free Health Care Policy and the Ombudsman Commission initiated dialogue with the Hospital Board and the fees were removed.
The Commission saw that the CEO’s decision to charge K15,000 for snakebite anti-venom was discriminatory and would negatively impinge on the rights of the citizens to have easy access to public health services.
It was published on the National newspaper on 8 August 2017 that the hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr Umesh Gupta had sent out a memo to staff four days back saying, among other charges, the user fee for snakebite anti-venom was K15,000.
He further stated that the approved user fee were calculated to recover the very high maintenance costs and consumables for the new and tertiary care services. The fees were to be implemented in August 2017.
The fee increase drew a lot of criticisms from the general public including the Hospital’s Chief Emergency director Emergency Medicine and National Doctor’s Association Secretary Dr Sam Yockopua.
That prompted the Commission to step in.