• Many health facilities turn away patients requiring urgent medical care over lack of finances.
• Some patients lose their lives as their families rush to seek the services in other hospitals.
Parliament will soon make it mandatory for health facilities to treat patients requiring emergency medical attention without first charging them.
National Assembly health committee chairperson Sabina Chege said many private facilities have been turning away emergency treatment patients who cannot pay.
She said this jeopardises their lives with some passing away.
Some private hospitals, Chege added, ask for outrageous deposits that patients and their families are unable to raise.
“The law will make it mandatory for any health facility, whether public or private, to give priority to attending patients and bill them afterwards,” she said.
In other instances, hospitals detain patients when their families request to have their patients transferred to cheaper public facilities after getting emergency services, until they clear their bills.
Chege urged families who find themselves in such situations to inform the Ministry of Health for immediate intervention.
“That is criminal and goes against the constitutional right for health,” Chege said.
Together with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Doard, she pledged to have all those facilities followed up on and appropriate punitive steps taken.
Chege, who is also Murang’a woman representative, called on the board to conduct random inspections on hospitals to see how they have been conducting themselves.
“Let the board investigate whether hospitals have enough qualified personnel and drugs and even speak to patients to get their experiences,” she said.
The MP, who was speaking at Kiambugi in Mathioya, Murang’a county, also accused some hospitals of not employing qualified personnel, giving rise to many incidences of negligence.
She said there have been numerous cases of unnecessary deaths of mothers during delivery, misdiagnosis and mishandling of patients.
“I'm asking hospitals to refer patients if they know do not have the capacity attend to them,” Chege said, pointing out that in some cases, hospitals rely on doctors employed in public hospitals and have to wait for them to report in the evening.
She said a directive passed last year by Parliament through her committee saw doctors’s fees slashed by 20 per cent.
But the cost of health care in the country is still exorbitantly high, she said, including drugs whose costs vary depending with the pharmacy a patient goes to.
“One drug will cost Sh5 in one pharmacy, Sh10 in another and Sh100 in another. We want to regulate these things as we fight for universal health coverage which will only be achieved if we make medical care accessible and affordable,” she said.
Chege also noted that Kenyatta University Level 6 Hospital, will ease congestion in Kenyatta National Hospital.
It has 31 ICU beds, far more than KNH and is set to be a Cancer treatment centre, chege said.