Public workers want Parly to investigate PSMAS In a statement, the Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) said it was concerned with the way medical practitioners were being treated by PSMAS. 

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

The civil service workers umbrella body has called on Parliament to probe into just what is happening at Premier Service Medical Aid Society that has resulted in health facilities owned by its subsidiary, Premier Service Medical Investments shutting down, so prejudicing Government employees who form the majority of PSMAS members.

PSMAS is the largest medical aid society in Zimbabwe and provides medical cover for almost everyone in State service plus a range of members outside the civil service who pay a higher tariff as they do not get a Government subsidy.

PSMAS operated largely as a managed health scheme, owning through PSMI a network of clinics, pharmacies and hospitals and hiring its own doctors and other medical staff to keep costs down. It is this network of facilities that have closed, forcing members to move into the private sector and make co-payments even when their cards are accepted.

Representatives of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (formerly Apex Council) yesterday appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare where they implored Parliament to look into the matter.

“When it comes to PSMAS, most of the PSMI institutions are closed and the situation has become dire for civil servants who cannot afford the high tariffs charged by private doctors and institutions,” said Mr David Dzatsunga, the secretary general of ZICOPSTU.

Members and the Government as employer were paying their dues, with Government providing the equivalent of US$5 million a month as part of its contribution for Government workers on PSMAS schemes.

“As a committee you can engage with the regulator of medical aid societies (Ministry of Health and Child Care, Air Commodore Dr Jasper Chimedza), PSMAS and the Public Service Commission. These are the institutions you may want to engage and get to know what exactly is going on,” he added.

Apart from failing to provide services to its members, PSMAS and its subsidiaries have also gone for months without paying its workers while being accused of channelling the bulk of its resources to management welfare.

Government has since instituted a forensic audit into the organisation’s operations.

Last year, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said Government was committed to supporting PSMAS and PSMI as they played an important role in provision of health care to civil servants which was part of their non-monetary benefits.

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