Patients bribe officials to see a doctor

General News of Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Source: The Al-Hajj

Cholera Patients

The Al-Hajj can confirm that a yet to be aired investigation conducted by Metro TV News has uncovered that owing to the ongoing strike by the Ghana Medical Association, some doctors conspire with some health officers at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to attend to some frustrated and desperate patients but not before (Patients) paying bribes to health officials.

Though doctors across the country through the GMA has declared a nationwide strike and have also stopped attending to emergency cases, Metro TV’s reporter, Samuel Agyemang has uncovered that some of the doctors at the nation’s premier hospital still take care of patients who are willing and ready to pay bribes to some health officers before they are made to receive medical care.

According to the investigations, since the doctors laid down their tools, the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital has been quiet; but upon careful observation, the investigator in a report revealed that,“he saw some patients being turned away in the name of strike whiles some others were allowed to see doctors for treatment.”

In an attempt to find out why some patients were turned away whiles others are attended to, the investigator engaged the services of an undercover lady “journalist” with a hidden and unprofessional camera.

“She was initially turned away at the OPD but was told to go to the accident centre to beg for a doctor’s service. Then a woman who works at the record department of the hospital approached her and asked to assist her to get medicare if only she could pay some amount of money. She then led her to the records department of the accident center and purchased a folder for Ghc9,” the report revealed.

According to the report, the hospital officials often sell a folder at a cut throat price of GHC10 under the guise of no change of one cedi to patients who have no other option than to bow to the illegal practice.

Findings from the investigation indicated that, after the lady had managed to purchase a folder, the health official who had offered to lead her to see the doctor showed the lady an empty purse and ask her to drop in some money, stressing, “he was not ready to accept anything around five cedis.”

After going through all this hustle, the report revealed that the lady came to a conclusion; she only received medical care because she had money on her that made her look attracted to an unknown person who introduced her to a doctor as his sibling.

“We also concluded that unless you were decently dressed and appeared attractive and capable of paying bribe, you would not get attention as the health officer who led her confessed that she was looking pretty and even the doctor admired her,” findings from the investigation revealed.

Worrying as this may sound, a middle aged woman, Teyi Comfort who visited the hospital just last week, told the investigator that she had no option than to bribe an official of the hospital to take her to a doctor since there was no doctor at post.

“She lamented to me that she is the bread winner of her family hence extorting such an amount of money from her was unfortunate. She is however unsure if the doctors themselves were involved in the extortion or not. She sounds aggrieved and unforgiving,” the report indicated.

On a sorrowful note, which of course is not befitting of a nation like Ghana, the reporter stated “For now it appears one can only get health care if you are rich, good looking or corrupt enough to bribe health officers, if this story is anything to go by”.