UCH makes U-turn, denies charging N1,000 daily electricity bill


Despite clear evidence of management’s directive for the immediate implementation of the policy, the management of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has denied the addition of N1,000 daily electricity fee to the service charge of admitted patients in the hospital.

The hospital in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Saturday claimed that the circular approving the addition of the fee was “an internal memo” that the university teaching hospital did not implement.

Signed by the public relations officer of the hospital, Toye Akinrinola, the hospital said the statement has since been withdrawn.

The latest statement further claimed that there was no time the hospital charged such a fee, adding that the hospital will continue to attend to patients irrespective of status.

The statement read in part: “The attention of the Management of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, has been drawn to a publication in all sections of the media alleging that the hospital is charging N1,000.00 per patient daily for electricity.

“The hospital wishes to state that the memo being referred to was an internal memo which we did not implement after a thorough review from internal mechanisms for such issues and has since been withdrawn. At no point did the hospital charge electricity fee.

“The management of the hospital is not oblivious of the fact that the said publication could have a negative effect on our patients, we are assuring the public that we shall continue to deliver effective and efficient healthcare to Nigerians irrespective of status.”

Meanwhile, the management had earlier confirmed the development and internal sources said that the patients paid N1,000 each on Monday, July 4, 2022.

Hospital’s earlier reaction

When PREMIUM TIMES visited the hospital, an official at the works department, who requested anonymity for fear of sanction, explained that the hospital is currently running on “a huge loss” and had to improvise by adding the N1,000 to patients’ service charge.

The source added that the hospital receives between N50 and N60 million in electricity bills every month from the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).

“You are aware that diesel is very costly, as we have to rely on the public power supply and then the bill by our electricity distributor- IBEDC, is also now very high.”

“We receive between N50 and N60 million naira every month here and this is not a corporate organisation, we are serving humanity. So because we cannot maintain such a bill, we had to look for ways of sustainability,” the source said.

“The more power we have, the higher the bill,” the official added, noting that oftentimes the hospital experiences a recurring power outage, and would be forced to run power generating sets for hours.

The source also emphasised that the hospital cannot afford a total blackout “because of the emergency units that need constant power and water supply.”

A non-clinical staff member, who also requested anonymity, confirmed that patients had started paying the fees since Monday, July 4, 2022.

READ ALSO: Nigerian university hospital imposes N1,000 daily electricity bill on admitted patients

“Patients paid and were even complaining that after collecting N1,000 they didn’t restore the light until later in the afternoon, around 1:00 pm,” he said.

Diesel donation

Also when contacted, the public relations officer noted that “there is more to the development than what is being circulated.”

He added that some well-meaning Nigerians have started donating diesel to support the hospital.

On June 4, 2022, the hospital received the donation of 1,000 litres from Lanre Laoshe, a former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

Mr Laoshe said he was worried by the addition of N1,000 for electricity to the service charges of patients.

The hospital, in a post on its official Facebook Page, thanked the donor for the gesture.

Mr Akinrinola also told PREMIUM TIMES that the hospital is experiencing a recurring power outage from the IBEDC as it has to run power generating sets for hours.

“We need diesel. Nigerians should focus on helping us rather than castigating us over the N1,000 electricity fee.

“IBEDC is also having internal issues that are affecting us here, so we need more diesel.

“Everyone should emulate Mr Lanre Laoshe who called the hospital from Lagos to sympathise with UCH over the current power problem and later promised 1,000 litres of diesel as his contribution.

“Interestingly, by about 5 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022, the promised diesel was delivered to the hospital,” Mr Akinrinola said.

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