Imo lawmakers move to end patients’ detention over hospital bills


May 23, 2024

The Assembly’s resolution followed a motion sponsored by Mr Kennedy Ibe (APC-Obowo) and presented during Thursday’s plenary session.

Defending the motion, Ibe argued that aside the detention of the patients, corpses of some dead patients, whose relatives were unable to pay their bills, were also detained in the morgues, while the bills continue to mount.

He described the situation as an anomaly requiring immediate redress.

According to him, it is illegal to incarcerate people without a legal mandate.

The lawmaker further said that there should be a balance to accommodate the dignity of people.

He recommended the use of a promissory note, which would outline when such bills could be paid.

He prayed the house to urge the state Governor, Hope Uzodimma, to direct the state Ministry of Health to urgently develop a policy that would help to correct the practice by hospitals.

Supporting the motion, Mr Samuel Otuibe, representing Ahiazu Mbaise Constituency, described the situation as only a small part of the huge problem in the health sector.

Otuibe said that some illegally detained patients in some cases were converted to unpaid workers by the hospitals as a way to recover their bills.

He also said that some hospitals charge exorbitant bills, thereby making it more difficult for patients to pay their bills.

He called for a public complaints committee to be set up by the ministry to handle all such complaints.

Contributing, Mr Dominic Ezerioha (Oru West-APC), described the issue as an illegality and called for immediate action to end it.

He also urged members to check the hospitals involved in such unwholesome practices in their constituencies in order to help people that found themselves in such helpless situations.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Amarachi Iwuanyanwu, who presided over the session, ruled in favour of the motion, following a unanimous vote supporting it.

Iwuanyanwu commended the sponsor for bringing up the illegality on the floor of the assembly for a legislative action.


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