PMDC reminds private medical hospitals long forgotten rule
Allocation of 50pc free beds for poor patients
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ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—In a late but right move, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) has written letters to private medical/ dental colleges to abide by the existing rule and the undertaking they had given at the time of opening that they would allocate 50 per cent free beds in teaching hospitals for the poor.
The letters were written in the backdrop of reports that private teaching hospitals are not taking the patients who cannot afford their expenses. Not only these hospitals were turning them out they were also misbehaving those who by some ill chanced entered their premises and sought some concession/compensation in the treatment expenses.
The PMDC has directed the medical/ dental colleges to display posters and banners at all the prominent places of h0spitals to inform patients of their benefits which includes free emergency services, free beds and admissions, free medical checkup, free operations and to provide non profitable medicines and laboratory services.
According to a spokesperson of the PMDC the letter has also been sent to the Minister for National Health Services Regulations, the National Health Services Regulations secretary and health secretaries of the four provinces and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
“It has been observed that the provisions contained in Clause 17(6) of Medical and Dental Institutions (recognition, eligibility criteria for enhancement in annual admissions and accreditation standards) Regulations, 2012 is not being implemented in true letter and spirit broadly violated by the administration of the private sector medical/dental institutions,” reads the letter dispatched by PM&DC Acting Registrar Dr.Syed Azhar Ali Shah.
Quoting the rule, it says, “In teaching hospital, 50 per cent of the beds shall operate free for accommodation and consultation, while treatment expenses including laboratory services, medicines and supplies, if any, shall be charged from the patients on a no-profit basis.”
According to PM&DC, there are 60 private medical colleges 32 dental colleges. Approximately 25000 beds and 1600 dental chairs will be offered to poor patients. A number of persons when contacted by Pakistan Observer for comments expressed their wonder and joy that such rule existed. “If this rule alone is acted upon in letter and spirit and the private teaching hospitals open their doors for the poor and the deserving, performance of public sector hospitals would also go up and they would be relieved of the awful pressure they are under due to the overwhelming number of patients daily.
“In PIMS alone, 5000 patients visit daily the Outpatient Department for treatment and cure. Unfortunately, half of them go unattended due to the long list of patients already there,” reveals a report by the Federal Ombudsman released last year. Similarly, the teachings hospitals would also earn a good name by providing free beds to the patients, said a doctor of the PIMS. This is the only way to relieve the public sector teaching hospitals of the burden and the PMDC should ensure they follow the rule in letter and spirit, he said.