People living with disability do not need to pay for a medical report.
This was clarified yesterday by the Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services, Veena Bhatnagar.
“People with disabilities applying for social welfare assistance who are required to get a medical report from hospital do not need to pay any fees for it,” Ms Bhatnagar said during a Parliamentary Standing Committee hearing in Labasa on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill.
“They don’t have to pay any fee to obtain a medical report.”
She was responding to questions raised by two people from the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons Labasa office who complained that people with disability seeking a medical report were asked by the hospital to pay $50.
Viliame Naibono, 72, while holding onto his crutches, shared an incident with the committee as he was applying for a food voucher at the Labasa Social Welfare Department.
“The department told me to go to the hospital and get a medical report then only they can process my application,” Mr Naibono said.
“When I went to Labasa Hospital they said to pay $50. I only get $50 assistance from the department to survive for a month. So just think, how can I pay for my medical report?”
A Labasa social worker, Maya Reddy, informed the committee she had received similar complaints from people with disabilities who were also told to pay for the medical report at the Labasa Hospital.
Standing Committee on Social Affairs member Salote Radrodro immediately requested the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons North divisional co-ordinator Niuami Marama to request staff from Labasa Social Welfare Department to attend the public hearing and to provide some clarification.
Ms Bhatnagar intervened at this stage and informed the gathering of the waiver of the fees.