HCPAN Flays FG Over Ban on Doctors Running Private Practice

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-Urges FG to Make Public Hospitals Functional

Dr. Aina Ademola, chairman, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN), Lagos chapter has taken a swipe at the federal government over its proposed embargo on medical doctors working in public hospitals from engaging in private practice.

Rising from the association’s annual general meeting (AGM) held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on October 31, 2017, Ademola expressed his disappointment with the decision saying proscription of such practice is not the solution.

“What do people want? They want access to quality healthcare with the intention of getting well. Simple! Part of the reasons private practice thrive was as a result of the inefficiencies in public sector.

“For instance, how often do we hear cases of patients visiting public hospitals by 5.00am and by 6.00pm; they are still there waiting on the queue? Yet when you enter a private hospital, within one hour you are done. What then are we talking about?” he quipped.

In his summation, the HCPAN boss remarked that he is not completely sure the government hospitals in the country alone can cope with giving patients the quality attention and wellness they deserved.

“I don’t think banning them from private practice is the solution. Instead, let government’s public health centres be groomed for them to be receptive to patients. Naturally, patients prefer government’s hospitals which they think are less expensive and accommodating.

“However owing to the fact that they can’t get the desired medical attention they crave, they look elsewhere. For instance, I know a teaching hospital where people are booked to come for surgery in five or six months’ time. Meanwhile the same specialist is willing to do it in his own practice immediately,” he lamented.

While calling on the federal government to wake up to its responsibilities, Ademola disclosed that that the issue of private practice by doctors in civil service would not arise if it concentrates effort on making public hospitals functional.

It would be recalled that Prof. Isaac Adewole, minister of health explained that the decision (to ban) became pertinent because of the worrisome development in the health sector. He added that the federal government was desirous to resolve the issue in accordance with what the law of the land stated and what the rule of professional ethics said.

Furthermore, Adewole noted that the law of the land did not allow any public officer to do anything other than farming, adding that the committee set up to look into the matter would make appropriate recommendations to government on the issues which he said was of considerable interest to quite a number of Nigerians

In a related development, Dr. Umar Sanda, president of Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria has charged members of his association on the need for inter-collaboration.

Recalling their interaction with Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, president of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) and a trustee of HCPAN, Sanda remarked that it is imperative for all healthcare practitioners to work in harmony under one umbrella for the survival of Managed care (Health Insurance) in Nigeria.

“We need this spirit to make Health Insurance work in this state and in the entire federation.  To me, teamwork and collaboration are synonymous and may likely be our main theme at the National AGM slated for December,” he hinted.

While applauding Dr. Jide Idris, Lagos commissioner for health for his commitment to HCPAN’s activities, the president remarked that it was no coincidence that he was able to attend the AGM.

“He was also in attendance as the then permanent secretary of the ministry of health when we officially launched HCPAN at Airport Hotel, Ikeja, on August 12, 2004. He came on the invitation of former commissioner for health, Dr. Leke Pitan and the then governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” he recalled.

In attendance at the event were Dr. Jide Idris, Lagos commissioner for health; Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, chairman (Lagos chapter), Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Dr A. Adedokun, director, LASUTH clinical services and training and Catherine Tanzamado, HCPAN AGM state coordinator.

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