Former Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan yesterday described as “inhumane and heartless”, St Clair Medical Medcorp Ltd’s decision to stop dialysis treatment to patients because of government’s failure to pay outstanding money to the facility. Khan claimed St Clair Medical is not strapped for cash and should not prevent dialysis patients from accessing the much-needed treatment.
“St Clair has been getting a lot of money from the ministry in dialysis, cardiac surgery as well as MRIs and CT scans from North-West Regional Health Authority. They get a lot because when I was minister I saw it,” Khan said.
“But, at this point in time with recessionary things going on and a decreased amount of money in the country, that St Clair could decide not to treat people and give them letters to send them home, I think it is a kind of inhumane and heartless action.” He urged St Clair Medical to seriously reconsider the move “because at the end of the day the government does pay.
Khan’s position came two days after Medcorp’s executive chairman Kongsheik Achong Low stated in a letter to patients that, effective today, those enrolled in the External Patient Programme, who had sought dialysis treatment at St Clair Medical, will be assigned to another facility for treatment. Achong Low also told the patients in the letter the government had not submitted payments since March.
The development has effectively placed hundreds of government-subsidised dialysis patients in a quandary. But those wishing to stay in the existing arrangement will now have to foot all of their costs or move to another dialysis where the fees are likely to be substantially higher.