Are Hospitals Becoming Hotels? The Potential Pitfalls of Prioritizing Luxury Over Quality Healthcare

17 Apr 2024


In recent years, the healthcare industry in Nigeria's major cities like Abuja and Lagos has seen a notable shift in how private hospitals operate. Many have started emphasizing luxury and comfort over the quality of medical care, raising concerns about the implications for patient health and access to equitable treatment.

The Rise of Luxurious Hospitals

Private hospitals in Abuja and Lagos have begun to adopt a hotel-like ambiance, offering spacious, well-decorated rooms and high-end amenities to attract affluent patients. While creating a pleasant and comfortable environment for patients is commendable, this focus on luxury has, in some cases, shifted priorities away from delivering high-quality medical care. The cost of healthcare in private hospitals is consequently skyrocketing, with bills becoming increasingly unaffordable for the average Nigerian.

Image of a Typical luxury hospital 

These high costs may not necessarily reflect superior medical expertise or services but rather the premium for the luxurious setting provided. Patients are often saddled with hefty bills, irrespective of the complexity of their medical needs.

Preference for Common Illnesses and Referral Practices

Private hospitals seem to prefer treating common, less severe illnesses that are straightforward and financially rewarding. This preference enables them to avoid investing in expensive medical equipment or hiring specialized staff for complex cases. However, when patients present with severe or complicated conditions, these hospitals may rush to refer them to public institutions, sometimes only after they have extracted substantial fees from the patients.

The tendency to offload serious cases onto government hospitals can exacerbate the strain on an already overburdened public healthcare system. Patients, in turn, may experience delays in receiving essential care, potentially worsening their conditions.

Insurance Discrimination

Another growing concern is the treatment of patients who present health insurance from Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). Some private hospitals appear less motivated to attend to these patients promptly or effectively, possibly due to perceived lower reimbursement rates from insurers. This discrimination can leave insured patients feeling marginalized and at risk of receiving substandard care.

Solutions for Improvement

To address these challenges and enhance the quality of healthcare in Nigeria, the following solutions could be considered:

1. Stricter Regulation and Monitoring:
The government should enforce stringent regulations to ensure private hospitals prioritize medical care over luxury amenities. Regular inspections can help guarantee adherence to medical standards and ethical practices.
2. Transparency in Billing:
Clear and transparent billing practices can help patients understand and manage their healthcare expenses more effectively. This transparency can also reduce opportunities for overcharging.
3. Improved Insurance Reimbursement: Encouraging fair and adequate reimbursement rates for HMOs could help ensure patients with health insurance receive timely and effective care in private hospitals.
4. Public-Private Partnerships:
Collaboration between public and private healthcare sectors can help balance the distribution of resources and expertise, ultimately improving patient care across the board.
5. Investment in Medical Training and Equipment:
Hospitals should focus on investing in the latest medical technologies and staff training to improve the quality of healthcare services provided.


By taking cues from developed countries, such as implementing stronger regulatory measures and fostering collaborations between private and public sectors, Nigeria can work towards creating a healthcare system that emphasizes quality care and affordability over luxury. This shift will be essential in ensuring equitable access to medical services for all citizens.

Write & Read to Earn with BULB

Learn More

Enjoy this blog? Subscribe to Abdulsalam Biliaminu


No comments yet.
Most relevant comments are displayed, so some may have been filtered out.