Health on back burner: Call to regulate fees charged by private hospitals

Govt hospitals falling short; people left at mercy of private hospitals

Qasim Abbasi April 11, 2016
Overcrowding at public hospitals force people to go to private hospitals. PHOTO: FILE


With the rapid increase in population and public sector hospitals failing to keep up with the needs of the residents, private hospitals are seizing the opportunity to mint money from the people.

Taking advantage of the overcrowded public sector hospitals, private hospitals in the capital charge patients between Rs8,000 to Rs25,000 per day, pressing the need for a regulatory authority to control the pricing structure and services.

Zyad Abbasi, a patient who was admitted to Kulsum International Hospital, said that he paid Rs17,500 per day for a month. He was in the ICU and was charged Rs19,000 per day after being shifted to a private room.

“Though the quality of service was good but the rates cost a fortune. A person from the middle or lower classes cannot afford this,” he shared with The Express Tribune.

Deputy Director Media of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Dr Isaac Ashar said that the consultation fee in private hospitals along with other treatment charges was too high and unaffordable for many.

Faisal Mehmood, whose father was admitted to the Shifa International Hospital, said that private hospitals are run by businessmen who focus on making money rather than providing affordable health care. He said it was the primary responsibility of the state to provide free health care.

The booming business of private hospitals and clinics in Islamabad has added to the woes of the citizens who cannot afford private healthcare services. Most of the highly qualified doctors, who are serving at both government and private hospitals try getting more money from the patients.

Talking to The Express Tribune, experts and patients highlighted the need for an authority to regulate private health care providers including hospitals, clinics and laboratory.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th,  2016.



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