ISLAMABAD: Amid speculations about the fate of the health card scheme, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) on Sunday claimed that in the last two days around 17,000 patients were admitted to hospitals across the country and availing free of cost treatment.

In a statement, the ministry stated that Qaumi Sehat Card empanelled hospitals were providing uninterrupted and free of cost medical services/treatments across Pakistan.

“Under the Sehat Sahulat Programme, families are able to get free treatment from empanelled public and private hospitals all across Pakistan. All hospitals empanelled with Sehat Sahulat Programme continue to provide free of cost hospitalisation services to all citizens as per an agreement. There were around 9,000 hospital admissions on Friday and 8,000 on Saturday (April 9) across Pakistan under the programme,” it stated.

Says around 17,000 patients admitted to hospitals across country in last two days

“Any social media messages to the contrary are patently false, malicious and baseless. In case of any problem, please call toll free helpline 080009009 or approach the relevant hospital’s Sehat card counter for prompt assistance,” it stated.

After Imran Khan was voted out through a no-confidence motion, rumours started on social media that the programme was going to be closed. On the other hand, some private hospitals were denying service under the card.

The Qaumi Sehat Card/Sehat Sahulat Programme included open heart surgeries, insertion of stents, management of cancer, neurosurgical procedures, burn management, accident management, dialysis, intensive care management, deliveries, C-section and other medical/surgical procedures up to the limit of Rs1 million per family per year. There is a facility of inter provincial/inter-district portability for availing free-of-cost services from over 600 empanelled hospitals in Pakistan.

Since the start of the health card in 2015, the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan has been dealing with the scheme and last year it again won the contract of insurance of the health cards for three years (2022 to 25). Currently, 100pc population of Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan is entitled to get free treatment.

A representative of the Setline Insurance Company, Raheem Safeer, while talking to Dawn said the insurance company had established Sehat Sahulat card counters in all the empanelled hospitals and in case of any complaint patients should contact the counters to get their issues resolved.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2022

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