LAHORE: The Pakistan Medical and Dental College (PMDC) has written a letter to private medical colleges asking them to abide by the rule requiring allocation of 50 per cent beds in teaching hospitals for the poor.
The PMDC has directed the medical colleges to submit a monthly compliance report on the 5th of each month.
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 are not implemented in its true sense and are broadly violated by the administration of the private sector medical/dental institutions,” reads the letter written by PDMC Registrar Raja Amjad Mahmud.
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 not-for-profit basis.”
The Health Department had written a similar letter to private medical colleges in the Punjab in January.
“The functioning of teaching hospitals attached with the private sector medical and dental colleges would share the burden of the government for healthcare delivery,” the Health Department letter had read.
According to the Health Department record, there are 49 private hospitals in the Punjab affiliated with 28 medical colleges.
“The hospitals are supposed to provide free beds to 7,625 patients in all,” a department official said.
Private medical colleges The Express Tribune talked to insisted they were providing free beds to the poor.
Dr Sabir Ayaz, chief operating officer at the Farooq Teaching Hospital in Lahore, said the institution had allocated 50 per cent beds for the poor patients.
“We have three teaching hospitals and 60 per cent of the beds there are free. Among them, the Akhtar Saeed Trust Hospital, has all the 300 beds free for the patients.”
The Farooq Teaching Hospital is affiliated with the Akhtar Saeed Medical and Dental College.
Lahore Medical and Dental College Principal Majeed Chaudhry said private medical colleges were serving people better than government institutions.
“Ghurki Hospital provides medicines worth Rs10 million among the poor every month. A large number of patients are treated against a nominal fee each day. This is the duty of the state that is being borne by trust hospitals,” he said.
Mahmud said some private medical colleges had expressed reservations to the letter.
He said the rule was not being followed. Had they been following the rule, there would have been no need for writing this letter, he said.
“I lack power to implement this. I cannot revoke their affiliation for not following the rule,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2014.