People dying as government dilly-dallies to sort out PSMAS mess


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Doctors are turning away Premier Services Medical Aid Society members because the government has not paid PSMAS for the past three months, a Movement for Democratic Change legislator, who is also a medical doctor, told parliament yesterday.

But it appears the Ministry of Finance is not in a hurry to sort out the mess in the aid society which was rocked by a salary scandal at the beginning of the year resulting in the chief executive being dismissed.

Dr Ruth Labode yesterday asked Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa whether the government had given upon PSMAS because she had received reports that doctors were turning away its members.

Chinamasa said government had not abandoned PSMAS but was trying to sort out the mess and had seconded its staff to clean up the finances of the medical aid society.

“We hope that once this exercise is complete, we can feel confident to put our money in that society,” Chinamasa said without giving any timeline to which another legislator interjected: “Vanhu vachifa?”

Labode said Health was not like Agriculture . “You cannot wait for a month for people to be able to access medical services, they die. Right now, as I am talking to you, subscribers of this medical aid are dying in hospitals. I know all these things need to be done but let us consider the lives of these members that have subscribed. Their money is being collected every month from their salaries and yet they cannot access services. People are dying.”

Chinamasa responded that people must not blame the PSMAS mess on the government.

The government this week pushed forward salary dates for civil servants which was a clear indication that it did not have money.

Q & A:

 

DR. LABODE: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Hon. Minister, I am sure you are aware that Premier Service Medical Aid subscribers are unable to access medical services anywhere in Zimbabwe now. Doctors have written to my Committee from Kadoma, Bulawayo et cetera indicating that they will not receive anybody from the Premier Service Medical Aid. This really is caused by the fact that the Government has not paid Premier Service Medical Aid for the last three months. So, they are unable to pay service providers. My concern is, is Government giving up on Premier Service or are we throwing away the placenta with the baby?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, Government is not giving up on Premier Service Medical Aid Society. In fact, we have demonstrated that we are committed to the future of Premier Service Medical Aid Society by seeking to root out the corruption that had sat in there and by also restructuring the management of that society. As you know, Government has seconded its staff to start cleaning up the finances of Premier Service Medical Aid Society. We hope that once this exercise is complete, we can feel confident to put our money in that society –

[AN HON MEMBER: Vanhu vachifa?] –

DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker, health is not like agriculture. You cannot wait for a month for people to be able to access medical services, they die. Right now, as I am talking to you, subscribers of this medical aid are dying in hospitals. I know all these things need to be done but let us consider the lives of these members that have subscribed. Their money is being collected every month from their salaries and yet they cannot access services. People are dying.

MR. CHINAMASA: That issue will be looked into but I detect a sense that in fact the whole blame for Premier Service Medical Aid Society is now being heaped on Government, which is not correct but we will address that issue.

(17 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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