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|National Hospital receives SERVICOM evaluations, loses 72 million to indigent patients|
The SERVICOM office has scored services rendered in National Hospital 40 per cent categorized as fair service even as the hospital has blamed its low score on various issues ranging from zero allocation in the past year to indigent patients and being overwhelmed by patients who had no business in the hospital.
The National Hospital was set up by the Abacha administration to carter for women and children but it has since become a primus inter pares in the health care sector in the country.
However, Nigerians are getting increasingly worried over alleged poor services at the hospital, unavailability of equipment and inadequate medical personnel.
SERVICOM evaluations focus on service delivery and customer satisfaction using an index to score services rendered by agencies. Only the General Outpatient Department(GOPD) of the hospital was evaluated.
Dr Christiana Famro, Chief SERVICOM Officer who led the delegation to the National Hospital for the presentation said customers of the hospital complained that there was preferential treatment of patients and that staff of the hospital were “rude and arrogant” and not customer friendly.
“There are no clearly defined processes involved in monitoring performance against set standards, to show that the hospital adheres to its set standards in rendering services to its customers. For instance, the set standard on customer care in the areas of promptness , speed of response and staff treatment of customers have no process of monitoring as patients wait endlessly before services are rendered” she said.
The SERVICOM Office therefore recommended that the hospital set processes in motion to monitor waiting time standards and provide training for customer care for its frontline staff.
The report praised the National Hospital for carrying out a customer satisfaction survey last year, setting up a public address system for dissemination of information to patients about staff and making adequate provision for waiting arrears within the hospital.
Responding, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Segun Ajuwon welcomed the evaluation describing it as necessary. He however said the choice of the General outpatient department affected its score as the hospital originally was not supposed to run such a department but for the weakness of the primary and secondary healthcare systems in the country in general and specifically in the FCT.
“People who naturally would not have no business here come because they believe this is where they would get the best. We are supposed to be a tertiary health institution dealing with only referrals but we take all kinds of patients now. The GOPD is our weakest link and once we improve it we would be excellent”, he said.
Dr Ajuwon ordered that more information be provided for the patients for them to understand the hospital’s preferential treatment, cost and charges policy.
He called on Nigerians to ensure that they pay for services rendered to them by the hospital pointing out that the hospital lost N72 million to patients who could not offset their bills in 2008.