General News of Friday, 19 October 2012
The Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr, has described as unnecessary, the pledge by NPP Presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo to establish the office of a Health Ombudsman to ensure that complaints from patients are properly addressed.
In a comprehensive outline of the party’s health policy in a speech he delivered on the topic “Saving our Health Service, Keeping our People Healthy” at the Sunyani Nurses Training College, Nana Akufo-Addo said “In our efforts to enhance the quality of care, the NPP will create an ombudsman with the power to investigate and support complaints from patients in both public and private hospitals.”
However, Mr Pratt believes it is an unnecessary duplication of existing structures and would create an unnecessary burden on the exchequer.
Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Thursday October 18, 2012, Kwesi Pratt said the medical community already had a regulatory and investigative body, the Medical and Dental Council, and it was therefore unnecessary to have a Medical Ombudsman.
“I don’t think what Nana Akufo-Addo is saying is the way forward. Health Ombudsman, what does it mean? The proposed duty of the Health Ombudsman is being done now by the Medical and Dental Council. At the moment, if there is any medical foul play, under the law you report to the Medical and Dental Council…We are just setting up duplicating institutions all over the place.”
Responding to suggestions by fellow panelist Kwabena Agyepong that the Medical and Dental Council have statutory responsibilities, whereas the Ombudsman would be charged solely with investigating complaints, Mr Pratt wondered:
“Why don’t we look at the factors that are preventing people from reporting any medical problems to the Medical Council, instead of creating a medical Ombudsman? I don’t understand, its not proper.”
In any event, no such position of Health Ombudsman was mentioned in the NPP manifesto, Mr Pratt pointed out, so why announce it now.