AS there is no code of conduct for private health facilities and institutions, the common man feels difficulty in getting emergency treatment, medico-legal cover, in payment of consultation charges and hospital fees for treatment and surgery.
There is a strict need for establishing an authority, through an act, to control private hospitals, having 50 or more beds, to make them affordable for the common man. It will encompass all hospitals run by private organisations, NGOs and statutory bodies and will include all hospitals ranging from Memon Hospital in Hyderabad to Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi.
The board so established under the authority must be chaired by the chief minister/chief executive of the province. The health minister, the health secretary, the director-general of health services, additional secretary (Technical), principals and medical superintendents of all teachings hospitals may be its members. The board may see that:
First, the charges of the hospital, including the charges of consultants, correlate with the services it provides and are within the reach of a middle class man,.
Second, in case of emergency and accident there should be strict provision of first aid treatment from the hospital side and medico-legal cover by the government of Sindh. Moreover, no injured or affected person be refused first aid and treatment.
Moreover, those who are not able to bear the expenses, they may be treated from Zakat or charity funds.
Third, the hospital has to provide a room/corner for government EPI scheme, whereas vaccinators and refrigerators are to be provided by the government of Sindh. Maintenance of the room will be carried out by the hospital administration.
Fourth, all the staff posted (medic and paramedic) must be posted by regular appointment letters with all the common formal codes of services and will draw a salary equivalent, with all allowances admissible, in government service. Such an appointee may be retired after 25 years of service, if desired by the employee, by giving him an appropriate golden shakehand or he may allowed to complete his age of superannuation.
Dr FATEH M KHAN Former Director-General Health Services, Sindh Karachi