PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Care Commission has begun the registration of private clinics, hospitals and diagnostic centres to implement global standards for quality health services in the province.

“We have started a one-window operation to ensure that the healthcare establishments get registered through an easy method in their respective districts. Previously, they’d to get registered in Peshawar through a time-consuming exercise,” Health Care Commission chief executive officer Dr Maqsood Ali told Dawn.

According to Dr Maqsood, the HCC has begun an exercise to register an estimated 25,000 registered medical practitioners in the province and enable the people to get quality services.

The commission had launched the one-window operation in Feb but it came to a halt only after a week due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The HCC chief said the registration had been resumed at the request of hospitals and diagnostic centres, whose representatives faced problems in travelling to Peshawar for the process.

Seals over 800 health centres, closes 157 for lacking facilities, qualified staff

“We have so far conducted one-window operations in Malakand, Peshawar and Hazara divisions, where over 9,000 registration certificates were issued on the spot,” he said.

Dr Maqsood said the commission had also identified clinics run by illegal medical practitioners.

He said around 40,000 quacks operated in the province causing harm to the people’s health instead of good.

“Our teams visit divisional headquarters and carry out registration process in the presence of all relevant officials after which certificates were given away to those with complete documents, while the others were told to produce the required papers,” he said.

The HCC chief said registration was also offered to qualified hakims and homeopaths, while all registered establishments were told to follow medical ethics.

He said the government had developed international standards on healthcare on the pattern of Punjab and would enforce them after the quorum of the board of commissioners completed.

According to Dr Maqsood, there are seven board members and three more will be nominated within a few days and once that happens, the standards will be finalised and placed before the cabinet for approval.

“Stricter penalties are being put in place for those who break sealed healthcare establishments or don’t pay the penalties imposed on them. Advocacy among the people and owners of private health facilities has become regular part of the Health Care Commission operations,” he said.

The HCC head said for the first time, the commission had taken on board the Provincial Doctors’ Association, Young Doctors’ Association and Insaf Doctors’ Forum to ensure the registration of all private sector hospitals, laboratories and pathological centres.

“During registration drive, our teams check the registration of doctors issued by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council and their degrees so that the fake medical practitioners don’t operate,” he said.

Dr Maqsood said after coronavirus broke out, the HCC in collaboration with the Public Health Association conducted a workshop for over 100 doctors, paramedics and nurses working in private hospitals and clinics to prevent the spread of the infection.

He said the government recently released a grant of Rs25 million to strengthen the commission’s monitoring mechanism.

“In the last six months, we have sealed 804 healthcare facilities and closed 157 others over a lack of infrastructure and qualified personnel,” he said.

The Health Care Commission said the commission had so far received 807 complaints via the Citizen Portal, addressed most of them and sent reports about them to the government, while six FIRs were lodged with the police.

He said the HCC had made it mandatory for all private hospitals to prominently display charges on the premises to discourage profiteering, and helped the government recognise private sector labs for Covid-19 testing during the pandemic.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020