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28.04.2007 Regional News

Juaso hospital defends commercial use of ambulance

By myjoyonline
The Juaso District Hospital at Asante-Akim South has expressed grave concern about the increasing public outcry with respect to a fee charged by the hospital to convey patients to referral health facilities in its ambulance.

It said the situation was necessitated by the high cost involved in the maintenance and fuelling of the vehicle, all of which were from the hospital's coffers.

The reaction follows growing public disapproval of the practice which is considered illegal hence the need to abolish it.

The general impression on the ground is that since government brought the ambulance to boost health care delivery in the interest of the people, there was no need for patients to be charged when being conveyed to referral hospitals.

Mr Osei Mintah, the hospital's Administrator told the Ghana News Agency at Juaso that the hospital charges 100,000 cedis and 200,000 cedis to purchase fuel when conveying patients to the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital respectively.

He said no provision was made for the fueling and maintenance of the vehicle when handed over to the hospital hence it had no choice but to charge patients to minimize cost.

Mr Mintah, however, noted that the policy excluded emergency cases, adding that the cost of maintenance was from the hospital's own resources.