Speaker calls for ‘no bed syndrome’ to be criminalized

The Speaker of Parliament says it should be "a crime" for hospitals to turn away patients over a lack of beds.

According to him, it is only right that all patients in emergency situations are attended to irrespective of the facilities available at a Hospital.

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He, therefore, called on Members of Parliament to formulate a law that makes it illegal and criminal for hospitals to turn away patients over a lack of beds.

“No medical person shall refuse to attend to a person in an emergency situation,” the Speaker voiced out on the floor of Parliament Tuesday.

He charged the Health Committee of Parliament to quickly look into the matter and formulate such a law, insisting turning away patients over a lack of beds “should be made a crime”.

The Speaker’s call comes on the back of the sad demise of a 70-year-old man who died earlier this week after he was refused admission by a number of hospitals.

Anthony Opoku Acheampong is reported to have died after seven public health facilities refused to admit him over a lack of beds.

The deceased was not even offered first aid by any of the hospitals he visited, his son said.

The unfortunate demise of Mr. Opoku Acheampong has sparked nationwide outrage, with many calling for a revolution of the country’s health care delivery system.

Commendably, Parliament has also taken up the matter, as it was extensively discussed on the floor on Tuesday.

Most MPs described the ‘no bed syndrome’ at hospitals as a “national security matter.”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) is currently investigating the circumstances under which the 70-year-old died.

Speaking to Accra-based Class FM, Director-General of the GHS, Dr. Nsiah Asare said all the hospitals that refused to admit the deceased will be queried.

“I think it shouldn’t have happened. All hospitals in this country are acute hospitals and acute hospital means that emergency is an emergency; so I’ve called the Regional Director of Health Services to find out what happened and all the various hospitals which were involved to give us an account of it…and ensure that this does not happen again,” Dr. Asare said.


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