Punjab Health Care Bill - Mockery of the Awam.

  • Punjab Healthcare Bill 2009: Mockery of the Healthcare System

    Just when things couldn't get any dumber, they do. The Punjab Healthcare Bill 2009 is the dumbest thing that can happen to the healthcare system. The bill has been the cause of much dissent in the medical community for the last several weeks.

    Aimed at "....regulating the unregulated healthcare sector in public and private sector with a view to curb unethical medical practice and improve the standard of healthcare in the province", the bill has innumerable shortcomings.

    Here's some of what I want answered by the "genius" CM:

    1. Why in the world, CM Sahib, did you need a foreigner to write this 150-page bill? I admit that you can't depend on the ineptness of a certain group of doctors, however, did you bother to realize that we're NOT all like that? And there are some of us who have the skills, expertise, and intelligence to draft this kind of bill....an even BETTER bill! I don't care how extensive Mike Naylor's experience may be, but no one can understand the on-ground realities better than the Pakistani medical doctor who lives and breathes these challenges on a daily basis. The fact that you had to panhandle for this too, is despicable. Why the incessant urge to turn to a foreigner every time you need a solution? Have you no faith in Pakistanis?

    2. Your cronies insist that all stakeholders were consulted during the drafting of this bill. Are you sure? How come the PMA, the representative body, was left out?

    3. "The ombudsman may undertake investigation into allegations of maladministration, malpractice or failures on the part of healthcare service providers................and will have the powers of a civil court in summoning any person, compelling the production of documents, receiving evidence on affidavits and issuing commission for the examination of witnesses. All executive authorities and law enforcement agencies of the government will act in aid of the health ombudsman." All this power to one person?? What qualifies him to undertake this position? What should his credentials be to qualify him as a health ombudsman? It has been visibly observed that individuals in similar authoritative positions have never had the academic qualification nor the moral acumen to raise the red flag on the institution they are hawk-eyeing.

    4. "......an independent and separate entity completely free of external influence by the government or other channels, would inspect health facilities in public and private sector in an extremely impartial and systematic manner....." Amidst a series of corrupt institutions, how will you ensure the ombudsman and his team will be impartial and fair? I can safely say right now, the culprit doctors can and will easily pay off the ombudsman and ensure that allegations against them and their practice be immediately dropped. Everyone from the policemen to ministers are paid to look the other way. You cannot guarantee an overhaul of one system, when every other system is corrupt and its presiding authorities are easily bribed. This is about giving justice to patients, so fix the justice system first!

    5. "It will neither recruit public employees nor have any direct operational link with the government to make it completely free of outside influence". Still not buying it. Hands down it's gonna be public employees and the "influence" is gonna be immense!

    6. The bill is aimed at hospitals in the private sector as well. Does that mean Ittefaq Hospital will also be put under the spotlight?

    7. Why not ensure facilities and services in the public sector first? This is where 95% of the population seeks healthcare from. But of course, you probably don't know that since every time you need a prescription you hop on a plane to London. By the way, then what was the point of building Ittefaq if you weren't even gonna use it for your own medical problems?

    8. You have yet to regularize doctors working under the Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP). You want to re-vamp the system?....begin by honoring these doctors.

    I hope there is a real crack down on the quacks and the doctors who are tarnishing this profession. But keep in mind, not all of us are like that! I'm all for accountability and responsibility. And there is no room whatsoever for negligence and carelessness when it comes to human life.

    To those of us who work with total sincerity, professionalism, and commitment, we deserve adequate incentives. It is the lack of respect, insufficient salaries, and lack of quality post-graduate opportunities (that can bring us at par internationally) that forces so many of us to leave Pakistan and seek career advancement abroad. These issues need to be addressed just as urgently as revamping a healthcare system to improve the health services offered to patients.

    And for god's sake put an end to the mushrooming of private medical colleges! They don't offer any quality medical education and are merely money-guzzling institutes. These medical colleges are the root cause of all the negligence that occurs in hospitals these days. We don't need an army of doctors who ultimately prove to be incompetent.



    What do the rest of you think ?

    Khan Sahib your comments would be appreciated.

  • Assalam-o-Alaikum-Warahmat-ULLAH ALL,

    I agree with the man writing the article. He's talking common sense.

    Punjab govt. suddenly wakes up when an incident takes place and then it goes back to its deep sleep.

    Punjab govt. suddenly woke up, cleaned up the city when Hillary Clinton was to arrive. But before and after that event, there's no initiative on their part on doing something in the province.

    Its not doing anything for the people of Pakistan.

  • NNL bhai,

    The article is under protection of copy rights:

    Before I comment on the subject, I like to study the Health Care Bill 2009.

    Please let me know if there is a soft copy available on net.