Over 25% of psychiatric patients on admission can’t pay medical bills – MD

NEWS DIGEST – The Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, has raised the alarm over the growing number of abandoned mental health patients in the hospital as over 25 per cent of the patients on admission could not pay.

The Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, who raised the alarm in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos, called for the general public assistance in the treatment and welfare of the patients.

Mr Owoeye urged Nigerians to help the indigent and abandoned psychiatric patients to offset their medical bills and meet their daily needs.

He said it had become pertinent that the public come to the aid of the patients because the burden of their welfare, medications and upkeep had been totally upon the hospital for a long time.

According to him, the current bills and welfare upkeep of the patients, especially the indigent and those abandoned by their relatives, were currently weighing the hospital down financially.

He noted that most of them have been spending the rest of their lives in the hospital premises until death takes them away.

“We have quite a good of indigent patients, as well as those patients abandoned by their relatives; who the hospital is currently catering for their feeding, clothing, medication and overall upkeep.

“As I speak, over 25 per cent of the psychiatric patients on admission in the hospital are unable to pay their bills and do not have anybody or relation whatsoever to assist with the payment.

“Most of these indigent and abandoned patients have lived in the hospital for years and as a result might not to trace or locate their families and relatives.

“By our calling and the spirit of humanity regarding our profession, we cannot leave them to go out of the hospital care and premises as they will constitute danger to themselves, others and property.

“So, we are calling on good spirited Nigerians, especially philanthropists, groups and faith-based organisations to come to our rescue in this aspect; to at least offset their bills,” Mr Owoeye said.

Mr Owoeye further regretted that many mental health patients were still roaming the streets without anyone caring for them.

According to him, the hospital occasionally picks some of the mental health patients on the streets for treatment and care.

He, however, assured that the hospital would continue in its efforts to treat, care and assist the indigent and abandoned mental health patients.

“But there is a limit to what we can do, which is why we are soliciting philanthropic gestures to assist to meet up their daily needs and care,” he said.