Nurses to raise fees for private patients

National Nurses Association of Kenya chairman Alfred Obengo.
National Nurses Association of Kenya chairman Alfred Obengo.

Nurses are preparing guideline showing the fees they will be charging patients, and they’re expected to go up.

The move follows a public outcry regarding the ‘exorbitant’ professional fees doctors in private practise charge patients.

The fees will be charged by nurses who offer services privately.

The National Nurses Association of Kenya said nurses might have been offering their services too cheaply.

“We are working on a costing strategy. When a patient comes to a hospital, they see a nurse first,” NNAK chairman Alfred Obengo said.

For instance, while doctors have been charging almost Sh60,000 to circumcise babies, nurses and clinical officers do it for less than Sh10,000.

Obengo said nurses are also professionals and some of their services will be more costly than doctors’.

“In two to three months, we will have guidelines showing minimum and maximum charges. We are learning from other countries,” he said. Fees would be subject to public participation and gazetted by the Nursing Council of Kenya.

Obengo said the association supports bringing down healthcare costs. “We want all stakeholders to look at the costs of healthcare as a whole,” Obengo said.

Last Friday the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board presented a report of a public participation meeting recommending that doctors’ fees in private hospials be cut by 20 per cent.

The report proposed wide-ranging review the 2016 professional fees guidelines for medical and dental practitioners after MPs and the state complained they were too costly.

“An ad hoc committee formed by the board had suggested a 20 per cent reduction on the minimum and maximum charges, but the full board decided to only slash the maximum fees,” board chairman George Magoha said.

The public, insurers and NGOs representing consumers complained the 2016 fees were unreasonable and would hamper universal health coverage

The guidelines set the minimum and maximum fees that doctors in private practise can charge for medical procedures. They were gazetted by Health CS Cleopa Mailu in 2016

“For a single court appearance, a doctor is allowed to charge a maximum Sh120,000. That’s unacceptable,” Kiama William from the Association of Kenya Insurers said.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya has also called for itemised billing in all hospitals as more patients make billing complaints