Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals says it is owed more than $40 million by patients, the government and several other organizations forcing it to institute drastic measures to recover the money.
Some of these measures include detaining patients as well as engaging debt collectors to force people to pay for services rendered.
Hospital chief executive officer, Thomas Zigora, told visiting Members of Parliament’s health portfolio committee that the hospital is severely underfunded, adding it is trying all means possible to collect outstanding payments to keep it operational.
Zigora said cash patients owe the hospital $27 million, the Department of Social Services approximately $2 million, children under five years of age at last $6 million, Zimbabwe National Army and Zimbabwe Republic Police, a million dollars and the remainder is owed by medical aid societies.
Zigora said the hospital, which has a monthly operational budget of about $3 million, collects about $900,000 from user fees monthly.
He said treasury has since January this year released only $300,000, making it difficult for the hospital to run smoothly.
Zigora said the hospital's drug level, at 48 percent, has never been this low in the institution's history, adding in some instances they are giving patients prescriptions so they can buy medicine from private pharmacies.
Zigora said the hospital has acquired new cancer treatment equipment at a cost of $7 million, adding this would ensure quick treatment for cancer patients who are spending a lot of time due to the constant breakdown of the old machines.
Health committee chair, Ruth Labode, said Parirenyatwa, which is undoubtedly the best equipped public hospital in the country, must be privatized so it can operate effectively.
Labode said Parirenyatwa management must be proactive and raise more money to improve operations from its state of the art equipment.
She said the government must also meet its constitutional requirement of providing health for all by ensuring that all hospitals are adequately funded.
The health committee is currently visiting major hospitals in the country to draw up a strategic plan to improve service delivery in the health sector.