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September 21, 2021

Police vow to arrest private hospital owners who detain dead bodies over unpaid bills

Uganda Police has issued warning against the private hospitals which are not releasing the dead bodies over non-payment of hospital bills.

A communication directing all Regional Criminal Investigations Directors to take interest in investigating and apprehending all Private Health Care Providers who break the law was on Tuesday 14th September 2021 issued by the Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations (D/CID).

Paul Kato Tumuhimbise, CID deputy director directed all regional and divisional CID officers to look into cases of Private Health Care Providers who are breaking the law by committing offenses like surcharging Covid-19 patients, wrongful confinement which entails retaining patients that have recovered and hindering burial of the dead for failure to settle their medical bills.

This follows a lot of concern and public outcry regarding Private Health Care Providers breaching the law in the above-mentioned illegal and inhumane ways as closely stipulated in the penal code.

According to the letter issued, in spite of the fact that Private Health Care Providers are crucial in supporting and supplementing government hospitals in offering medical services, they are still mandated under the law to demand reasonable charges for the services they offer.

They are further entitled to sue for and recover their costs in full in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Hence the practices of overcharging patients, retaining them after they recover and retaining dead bodies too until the arrears are paid in full, amounts to breaking the law and also psychologically and economically traumatize the patients and the relatives of the retained bodies.

It is for these reasons that the Criminal Investigations Directorate came in to try and restore the balance and order and see to it that Private Health Care providers act within the confines of the law to protect the interests of Ugandans at large.

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