•MTRH says the prisons department has not paid about Sh20 million for the last two years.
•Many murder suspects yet to undergo mental tests due to the impasse between the hospital and prisons department
The Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret has suspended medical services to inmates from prisons in the North Rift region due to accumulated debts amounting to about Sh20 million.
The hospital wants the accrued costs paid by the prisons department before it can resume medical services to prisoners.
Most affected are murder and robbery with violence suspects who have been turned away from the hospital for the last one month.
Some of the suspects held at Eldoret GK remand prison are yet to undergo mental assessment to determine their mental fitness to stand trial, three months after the High Court in Eldoret directed that they be examined.
Failure to undergo the tests has caused delayed handling of murder cases because medical examination in such cases is mandatory before trial.
CEO of the hospital, Dr Wilson Aruasa, confirmed that they had suspended services to inmates until the money owed to the hospital is paid.
Dr Aruasa said the prisons department had breached its contractual obligations by failing to clear the accrued costs of medical services for the last two years.
“The prison department owes us that money and we gave them adequate notice to clear so that we work with them well as we have been doing over the years,” said Dr Aruasa.
Aruasa said the hospital management has no other issue with the prison department except the accumulated costs of medical services for inmates.
Staff at the hospital has been directed not to handle the prisons medical cases until the pending bills are cleared.
Sick inmates from neighbouring counties including West Pokot, Turkana and Baringo have also been hard hit because they cannot access some of the medical services they need from other public hospitals in the region.
The prisons department has been forced to use county hospitals which lack facilities similar to those at the referral hospital.
The officer in charge at the Eldoret GK prison, Alfred Musila, confirmed they had pending medical bills.
“The matter is being addressed and will be resolved soon,” he said.
He said the sick inmates were being referred to Uasin Gishu district hospital where they cannot be treated for some of the serious illnesses they were suffering from.
“The district hospital has no equipment and personnel to conduct mental tests for murder suspects unlike at MTRH,” said Musila.