HON. ENG. MUDZURI: I want to add my voice to this motion which is urgent. From what has been brought to our attention that the doctors are not going to take medical cards, it can cause a lot of problems in the whole country because when people go to get medical insurances or any insurances, it is to prepare for their future. What we need from the Minister of Health and Child Care is to explain to us the link between the insurance company, the doctors and the hospital so that we know their common understanding such that the doctors can claim that they cannot take this. There should be an understanding of these institutions which has been prepared by Government already in our Acts of Parliament or statutes. I am saying we need that clear explanation of why a person who has already had an insurance which is valid is being refused treatment.
Secondly, we need also a proper conversation with our doctors. The doctors are qualified and they have done everything but I think our medical system is too expensive. Honestly, to go and see a specialist who is charging anything between $80 and $120, I tell you that it is refusing the common man medical attention. Today there is no cash and someone is pronouncing that when you come to my office, come with cash. Is that not condemning people to death? Are these people thinking about the common man? Are these people thinking about the ordinary person? I do not know whether there is a way of making sure that while you are qualified, still have your professional certificate and still need to be paid, you still have the ethical behaviour which is expected of any medical practitioner to attend to any patient whom you meet. If I fall down here, Dr. Labode has to pay attention to me and not demand to be paid first.
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This is what we are praying our doctors look at to say when a patient goes to their rooms, they are looking for special attention. This is especially so with those who have specialised because you cannot have specialists everywhere. We can get General Practitioners anywhere but we need to look into our laws and ensure that anyone who gets sick gets medical attention. I think our Constitution is very clear that everybody is entitled to medical attention.
We also need to address the problem between parastatals, Government and probably local authorities that have not been remitting their insurances. We need to ensure that when a person gets his/her pay slip, what is done to ensure the money is remitted? Maybe we should change from getting Stop Orders from salaries and have people paying directly to medical aid societies or to whoever is supposed to provide the service. We worked out when we were sitting here to say if each person pays $14.00 per month, there is $14 million collected from one million contributors. Is that not a lot of money to run medical aid societies? How many people get attention? Do we get bills that exceed $14 million in a month especially in basic treatment of just seeing a doctor?
We are looking at all these costs to say $14.00 is a lot because some people pay over $100.00, meaning they cover for the poor. They try to balance with your level of treatment because as you get more elite, you get more fair treatment. We are saying there is enough within the medical aid societies which is being paid to run these insurances and still have their businesses intact. We also think that we need to rationalise the payments with private and specialist doctors. If I need a hip operation, I must pay $10 000.00 and I am from the village. Where do I get $10 000.00 from?
Now you are saying I cannot use the little that I have tried to save just to see a doctor. Honestly the doctors have to be humane, work with their people and also try to fight their war where it is suitable with the medical aid insurances since they are the people with whom they have already agreed to serve. There is already an agreement that is why they are now saying we cannot take these cards. Everybody gets medical aid because they want to access these private doctors and not because they want to go to clinics. You do not need a medical aid card to go to a clinic.
We are saying that the Minister must come and inform this august House on what they would have agreed on within the next few days whether we are still going to use our cards or not. Even to say Premier Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) we need to see a doctor, I do not need to go and look for someone. When I am sick, I do not have time to be ferried to hospital by someone, beg them to go to my medical aid society to get cash and bring it to the doctor. That is unfair treatment to the common man.
Mr. Speaker, this Parliament must rise, stop it and must be able to see everyone getting proper medical attention so that we live. We are a nation. We are so small, we are only 12 or 13 million and must live for each other. I thank you.