Punjab halts facility of free medical diagnosis in government hospitals
The government of Punjab has terminated free of cost diagnosis for the underprivileged patients.
The government of Punjab has terminated free of cost diagnosis for the underprivileged patients in indoor departments of all health facilities of the province that were run by the state. A heavy fee has also been imposed on about 50 services and diagnostic facilities that were previously offered without a cost.
Not only that, but the government has also increased the fee of many test facilities and services, this puts the poor patients under a great deal of stress.
An official acquainted with the information informed Dawn News that Dr. Yasmin Rashid, the Health Minister, administered meetings that were held to discuss the cost of services and test facilities that were being offered to the poor patients, and suggested a new fee regime to the Punjab government to get it accepted by the provincial cabinet.
Charges applied to all government hospitals:
The privy said that the charges will be applied to all government hospitals that were under the primary and secondary healthcare department. At the moment, P&SHD (Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department) controls about 34 districts headquarters hospitals (DHQs), 88 tehsils headquarter hospitals (THQs), 2,461 basic health units (BHUs) and 293 rural health centers (RHCs) in the entire province. There are majorly visited by patients that are underprivileged.
On Saturday, the cabinet approved of the changed rates and a notification was published regarding this. The former PML-N government had announced the treatment facilities free at emergency wards, diagnostic units of the hospitals and indoor departments.
He official said that the incumbent Punjab government has put massive financial pressure on poor patients that visit these hospitals by abrogating these facilities.
The notification said:
“Consequent upon the approval of the provincial cabinet of Punjab in terms of Rule (28 (15) and 30 of the Punjab Government Rules of Business 2011, in the suspension of all the previous orders, the rates for various services and tests performed in health facilities under the administrative control of the P&SHCD have been notified”.
For the first time, a cost of Rs. 50 has been put on dental OPD ticket for each patient. The Punjab government also announced that all diagnostic test will be cost-free for patients that visit emergency units of the hospital.
The poor patients that are in need of free facilities for indoor services will have to sign an undertaking that they are eligible for Zakat Fund, which is a long and complicated process. A patient has to visit offices for signatures of officials, this can take up to days.
The notification further stated that 70% of the diagnostic test free that the patients were charged with would be retained by the government of Punjab.
As per the notification, the government of Punjab imposed a fee on largely performed fees, that included Rs. 2,500 for CT Scan, Rs. 100 for ECG, Rs. 150 for ultrasound and Rs. 60 for X-Rays. A fee of Rs. 200 on CBC test, apart from other tests that were performed on patients in routine. Other than that, Rs. 60 for ESR and Rs. 65 for blood sugar, Uric Acid test, Urea, and Creatinine tests.
A fee of Rs. 300 is imposed on LFT (Liver Functioning Test), which is often performed on patients that are admitted in the hospital.
Cost of Rs. 60 for urine routine examination, Rs. 220 for Fluid Routine Examination, Rs. 400 for Coagulation Profile, Rs. 110 for RA Factor, Rs. 250 for Lipid Profile, Rs. 75 for anti HCV Screening, Rs. 300 for HbsAg, Rs. 350 for HbAIC, Rs. 600 for Trop T, Rs. 900 for Thyroid Profile, Rs. 300 for PAP Smear, Rs. 700 for ABGs, Rs. 110 for Serum Bilirubin, Rs. 325 for Cardiac Enzymes, Rs. 600 for H Pylori and Rs. 400 for Myco dot etc.
On the other hand the official spokesperson of Punjab government Dr. Shahbaz Gill responded to the news with this clarification:
ان ڈور میں غریب اورمستحق افراد بیان خلفی جمع کروا کے مفت سہولت سے مستفید ہو سکتے ہیں
غریب اور امیر دونوں کو ان ڈور میں مفت سہولت فراہم نہیں کی جاسکتی. پرائیویٹ لیب کی نسبت سرکاری ہسپتالوں میں ٹیسٹ کی قیمت انتہائی کم ہے. https://t.co/4oRCu5jJZw pic.twitter.com/QbwMBGxDa3
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) August 18, 2019
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