Home » Governance » Chimedza Defends Hike in Consultation Fees

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza yesterday defended the recent hike of doctors’ consultation fees, arguing that since the introduction of the multi-currency regime no review had been made while medical aid societies had been allowed to increase subscriptions four times.

Dr Chimedza said it was important to allow medical doctors to hike fees as that would help retention in the wake of poor working conditions.

Non-constituency MP Dr Ruth Labode (MDC-T) had asked on the effect the increase would have on civil servants, most of whom she said would not afford.

“From 2009 to date there has been no increase of tariffs for doctors, but there has been an increase of subscriptions by medical aid societies,” said Dr Chimedza.

Government increased medical consultation fees by more than 100 percent from US$20 to US$50, while specialists are now charging up to US$120 from US$60, a development observers said threatened the existence of medical aid societies which could fail to cope with the increase.

The role of Government, said Dr Chimedza, was to intervene should there be an impasse on tariffs between medical aid societies and medical doctors as what they had done in the present case.

“We rationalised the charges so that we do not lose our professionals,” he said.

“The doctors are not getting anything (in Government) and it is what they are doing in private practice that is making them remain in the country.”

Dr Chimedza said no meaningful services, except abuse of subscriptions through payment of obscene salaries, had emanated from the medical aid societies.

“We are not going to allow hospitals and medical doctors to subsidise medical aid societies,” he said. “They are collecting subscriptions and they should direct the money to where the service is being provided.”

Responding to another question, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the US$6 000 salary cap for executives in parastatals that was introduced by the Government was temporary pending an audit to determine the ability and sustainability by individual entities to pay more.

Warren Park MP, Mr Elias Mudzuri (MDC-T) had asked Minister Chinamasa how the cap had been implemented.

On shifting of salary dates for civil servants, Minister Chinamasa said disbursement of salaries was determined by what the Government would have received from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

Responding to another question Minister Chinamasa said Government would overhaul the Presidential scholarship so that it caters for special skills that are not available in the country.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe should have licensed private television stations by January 2015.

He said aertisements inviting applicants should be flighted by August this year.

Cde Mandiwanzira was responding to a question from Kuwadzana MP Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) who sought to know when private television broadcasting stations would be licensed.

Source : The Herald