The management of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State, has described as fake news, the story gaining tractions in the conventional and new media that the authorities of the federal teaching hospital, has introduced to the health facility, daily payment of N1,000 electricity bill per patient.
Speaking on the development, the Public Relations Officer of UCH, Mr. Toye Akinrinlola, on Monday at the Board Room of the hospital, said the management has not imposed N1,000 electricity bill on each patient in the facility per day, though the hospital is expending about N20million monthly in recent time on diesel to power critical areas such as labour ward and theatres, accident and emergency unit, intensive care unit and so on, while about N60million also goes to the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Companies (IBEDC) monthly for power supply that is not constant.
The reaction followed an internal memo that got leaked to the media, which was said to have been circulated on Monday June 21, 2022. The memo, entitled: ‘Approval for the Recommendation to add Utility Fee to the Service Fee Charged to Patients in the Hospital’, which was signed by Wole Oyeyemi, UCH administrator, on behalf of the chairman, Medical Advisory Committee and Chief Medical Director. It was addressed to the Director/Head, Finance and Accounts Department of the hospital.
The memo read in part: “It reads, “Following the recurring power outage in the hospital, high cost of electricity tariff and inflation in the price of diesel, which have impeded stable power supply, management has decided to consider measures that can help to facilitate flawless service delivery in the hospital.
“To this end, I write to convey the management’s approval for the mandatory payment of utility fee of N1,000.00 (one thousand naira only) daily by every patient accessing care in this hospital. You are requested to kindly implement the approval with immediate effect.”
In his reaction, Akinrinlola stated: “There is no truth in it. The management has not said they would charge N1,000 electricity bill per patient per day. What we are looking at is a review of our utility bills. When you talk about utility, you’ll talk of water, you will talk of power. And all of these things are on the increase everyday.
“So, the management is planning that for us to be able to serve the public more efficiently, there has to be slight increase in the amount being paid for these services. Already, there are some service charges being paid by patients that come to UCH. And we are all aware that things are getting costlier everyday.
“The memo that is referred to is still an internal memo. How it got out is an issue. The management is tackling that. But I can assure that we have not started implementing it, and it is not tagged to electricity bill. It may be an error on the part of the person, who saw or it is a misinterpretation of policy. UCH has not started doing such thing. There are also many services that we render.