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Private hospital owners advocate involvement in emergency ambulance services

By Dan-Maryam Zayamu

The Guild of Medical Directors and Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMP) has called on the Federal Government to involve it in the implementation of the National Emergency Medical Service & Ambulance System (NEMSAS).

President of the Guild, Professor Femi Dokun-Babalola, made the call during a courtesy call on the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehinare, in Abuja

The National Council on Health (NCH) had approved the establishment of NEMSAS; and Babalola said that it was important that the private sector was carried along because about 70 per cent of all consultations and emergencies do occur in the private health facilities across the country.

“Hitherto, the experience of our members in the handling of emergencies has been less that savory. Doctors sometimes get harassed and even arrested for attending to bullet wound emergencies, patients refuse to pay after being attended to, and patients are rejected for various flimsy reasons even when they get referred to tertiary institutions,” he said.

The President said that it was instructive to note that many contractors in Nigeria were owed a lot of money for lengthy periods of time even after verifiably completing the assigned projects.

“Our experience with Health Management Organizations and the NHIS has not been very palatable in this regard and is a subject of continuous concern.

“A mutually agreed tariff system of payment for services rendered to emergencies that do present in private hospitals.

“For those who invest in ambulances, payment of a basic periodic maintenance cost in situations where the ambulance is either not utilized or is under-utilized,” he said.

According to him, at the moment, there are about 20 privately held ambulances available for use in the scheme within the FCT.

However, there are many of our members who are ready to invest or make their ambulances available provided these aforementioned guarantees are in place.

He, however, noted that the representation of the private sector in the NCH should not just be by invitation but should be statutory.

“If 70 per cent of the health care in our country takes place in the private sector, it suggests that the NHC needs to be expanded to take care of this demographic,” he noted.

Written by ExpressDay

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