PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to slash its funding for the province’s medical teaching institutions in line with their earnings from the Sehat Card Plus health insurance programme.
“The cabinet decided in its last meeting that the finance department would halve budgetary allocation for MTIs. From now on, each of them will have to surrender 50pc of their income generated from the free healthcare initiative,” an official of the health department told Dawn.
Officials said the income of public sector hospitals, including 10 MTIs, from the SCP had been rising but they continued to get money from the finance department at the same time, so the slashing of their budget on the basis of their income from the SCP won’t affect their operations and would rather save the government millions of rupees.
They said initially, public sector hospitals lagged far behind private hospitals as the latter outweighed the former regarding their income from the SCP, but lately, the earnings of private hospitals surged, so the government wanted to slash their budget in line with their income from the cashless healthcare programme.
Official says budget to be slashed after examining MTIs’ earnings from Sehat Card Plus
The officials said the government’s health facilities got 11pc of their earnings from the SCP in 2016, 14pc in 2017, 19pc in 2018, 23pc in 2019, 27pc in 2020, 33pc in 2021 and 44pc in 2023 until now, but despite an increase in their share in the money generated by the programme, they still received regular budget from the government.
They said the caretaker government faced a shortage of funds and had already decided to limit free healthcare services to 65pc population instead of the entire household of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The officials said among public sector hospitals, MTIs received a lion’s share in the income from the SCP due to which the finance department would retain half of their budget which they earned from the SCP.
They said the MTIs had so far been distributing the SCP’s income on the basis of a formula under which the people involved in the services got the amount along with administrative, maintenance, repair charges.
Under the ‘Fund Retention and Utilisation and Distribution Formula’ from SCP’s income, the hospitals were spending 25pc of their SCP earnings to improve patient care and do repairs and maintenance, give 30pc to doctors and 15pc to nursing and paramedical staff, and spend 20pc on consumables and 10pc on administrative matters.
Officials said most MTIs hadn’t enforced the formula due to which they received fewer patients on SCP but after its enforcement the number of people and income has kept rising due to which the government wanted to cut their budget on the basis of their income from the SCP.
They said the doctors and other staff would continue to draw their share from the SCP’s income but additional budget wouldn’t be offered for maintenance, repair and administrative charges, which they had already been receiving from the finance department.
Officials said it had been proposed to the PTI’s government in 2017 to cut the budget of the MTI on the basis of their income from the SCP but the suggestion wasn’t accepted.
They said the PTI, which pioneered the programme in the province from covering three per cent population in four designated districts in the province in 2016, extended it in a phase-wise manner to the entire population in November 2019.
The officials said since the installation of the caretaker government, the SCP continued to restrict free health services and had already stopped liver and kidney transplants of its beneficiaries.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2023