GWERU Provincial Hospital has given patients 24 hours to settle their bills or risk having their property attached in an effort to recover over $500 000 owed in outstanding bills.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Early this year, the Midlands provincial referral hospital engaged a private debt collector, Well Cash Debt Collectors, to track patients who had left the hospital without paying.
“You are given 24 hours to pay $74,50 for Gweru Hospital at Gweru Hospital OPD (Outpatient Department), Room 4, failure of which a court order to attach your property will be sought,” read part of a text message sent to one of the hospital’s unpaid patients.
The hospital’s medical superintendent Fabian Mashingaidze could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
In 2013, Mashingaidze said it was not in the interest of the institution to engage debt collectors, but pointed out that patients were not forthcoming with payment plans when they were reminded to settle their bills.
The hospital, like many other government health institutions, lacks adequate medical supplies with patients buying most of the drugs while those admitted fork out money for bedding only.
In March this year, Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo advertised for services of a debt collector after it was also choked with debt.