Obaseki warns doctors in public hospitals against "double-dipping"

Governor Godwin Obaseki

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State:

By Jethro Ibileke

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has warned doctors working in government hospitals across the state that “double dipping” will no longer be tolerated from them.

This is even as he charged stakeholders in the healthcare sector to be accountable and transparent in delivering quality healthcare services to members of the public.

He gave the warning during a 3-day Edo Health Sector Strategy Retreat, with the theme, “Transforming the Health Ecosystem in Edo State to Achieve Resilience and Quality Healthcare.”

The governor frowned at a situation whereby doctors keep referring patients from government hospitals to their own private clinics, or diverting drugs from government hospitals for their private use, warning that it could not work again.

According to him, “This whole idea of double dipping can’t work again. If you want to work as an operator in my own healthcare system, then you cannot be working on your own at the same time and double dipping.

“If that is going to happen, we must have an agreement where there is transparency. You can’t be referring patients that come to my care to your centres.

“At the same time, moving drugs and service equipment that I have provided for your own private use is not fair. It is not right. If you are going to admit them in my facilities, let us have an agreement. We need to talk through how we make sure that we contribute enough to sustaining our healthcare system.”

The Governor further noted, “As far as I am concerned, my goal is to improve the healthcare system. Government has a responsibility to provide healthcare. At a certain level, the government is also a regulator and we must understand those two roles clearly.

“As the regulator, everybody that is providing health care services in Edo has to be regulated by the state government, whether you are federal government, private or international agency, the law says we must regulate you.”

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“I want to be part of this retreat so that together we can all agree on the way forward. I know that it would work. I have worked with some of you. I don’t want any of you to travel again. I know some of you are in high demand globally. We want to make you stay back at home so that we can provide care for our people,” he noted.

Commenting on the need for accountability and transparency in the healthcare system, Obaseki said causes of deaths in the hospitals must be known.

He said, “As far as I’m concerned, everybody in this retreat has committed themselves to the citizens. We must make sure that the design of the system is transparent and open and everybody must be accountable.

“We can’t have a situation where someone dies in a clinic or hospital and nobody comes to ask how? Why did this person die? Was it due to negligence? Was he or she given proper and adequate care?”

“Somebody has to be held accountable. Fine, if it is of natural causes, let us know. Let the third-party check and see if it’s true, so that people are held accountable for what they do. Every human life is precious, very precious and even the lives of Edo people are even more precious,” he added.

Obaseki said, “At the end of this retreat, I want to be able to clearly tell as a regulator of the healthcare system, what exactly and how we are going to undertake these regulatory functions in the the next one year in particular. Regulations is not about you paying money, it’s not about revenue.

“Regulations are about quality of service because the activities you undertake affect somebody’s live. Once you provide the right services, money will come. So don’t tell me it’s about revenue. Your primary responsibility is to provide quality care.

Edo State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Obehi Akoria, reiterated the governor’s determination to provide quality healthcare at all levels through the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme to enable a shift from out-of-pocket spending.

Prof. Akoria noted that plans were on to make Edo a regional reference point for quality healthcare delivery and desired destination for health innovations.

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