A draft law that seeks to bar health facilities from confiscating corpses and patients on financial grounds is set to be re-tabled.
Paul Akamba the mover of the bill titled “The Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities Bill 2019” says this has been prompted by Speaker Jacob Oulanya’s announcement on Thursday that he wouldn’t carry forward business from the previous parliament that was chaired by the now First Deputy Prime Minister Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga.
“Given yesterday’s communication of the chair I will have to re-table it as a formality then it will be considered by the committee,” Akamba explained.
“It was referred to the committee at a time when it was handling the Insurance Bill which was a Government bill and this was a private members bill so in terms of priority they opted to first process the Health Insurance Bill,” he added.
Akamba further revealed that save for a few changes in terminology, they expect to retain the main structure.
The bill states in part that “the management of a health facility shall not detain a patient or his or her body in case of death, in a health facility for failure to meet financial obligations of the health care received by the patient,” the bill adds.
According to Akamba, the bill which has support from the Uganda National Health Consumers Organization (UNHCO) seeks to stop last minute disputes arising out of unpaid dues.
“That would tantamount to disturbing its (corpse) peace and that there should be mechanisms of recovering such money that has been incurred as a result of treating a patient,” he argued.
Regarding the payment of hospital dues, the bill seems to leave this entirely to the courts to decide.
“The courts can decide on that. But it should not be you (health workers) to be the judge, accuser, judge and prison,” Akamba said
Two months ago, a family in Kampala through their lawyers Tofa Tamale and Regina Namata dragged Paramount Hospital to court for withholding their relative’s body over a Shs 31million bill.
Meanwhile, the new bill seeks to protect patients involved in clinical trials.
Besides equipping the patient volunteer with all necessary information about the drug and dose to be applied, the bill wants all those afflicted by this process to be financially compensated under Section Eleven (2), sub section (b) ii.
“In case of impairment or disability of the person arising from the clinical trial, provide adequate financial assistance to the person and in case of death, compensate the dependants of the deceased,” it states.