PESHAWAR: Despite the tall claims made by the PTI government, obtaining insaf card for free-health services in state-run hospitals has become a herculean task for patients who are given one-year time for surgeries.
Due to the lack of quality services, the patients of heart-related and other complicated diseases from other districts are shifted to the hospitals in Peshawar, which are already lacking basic things like beds to cater the increase in patients.
According to the Lady Reading Hospital [LRH]’s data, around 130 patients with insaf cards visit the facility daily, out of which 35 are admitted and 20 referred to other hospitals. Moreover, five-month time is being given for general surgery and from 10 months to a year for heart surgeries. However, angiography is conducted and stents are installed within two weeks.
Sources say situation is the same in the city’s second largest health facility – Khyber Teaching Hospital [KTH].
Meanwhile, patients are not taken seriously in the hospital due to delay in payments by the State Life Insurance Corporation and referred to other hospitals. However, the administration says it is seldom done, while they treated immediately in case of emergency and the card-holders do not have to wait in IBP.
The hospital data shows 337 patients are treated on average per month, while the figure for the last year was 4,384.
According to the Hayatabad Medical Complex [HMC] administration, the number is around 65 daily and the kidney patients are referred to other hospitals, as the facility lacks DTPA scan and radiotherapy services. Patients are given one-month time for different kinds of surgery; however, the cardiac patients get treatment immediately.
Provincial Health Minister Shahram Tarakai visited Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex, and directed the administration to solve the problems of patients having insaf cards. On the other hand, the health department has sent a notice to the Lady Reading Hospital, in which the health programme steering team expressed its reservations that the insaf card holders are sent to private hospitals despite the steps taken to increase the income of government-run facilities.
According to the steering committee, the main reason behind this is the hospital administration’s failure to implement the funds distribution policy among the employees.
Syed Muzzamil Shah, a resident of Peshawar and labourer by profession, told The News that his father Syed Ghani Shah could not get free angiography because of not having his name in insaf card. The names of his seven family members were listed in the card, but that of his father, he said, adding that he could ensure treatment of his father by borrowing money from brother.
Bakhti Karam, a resident of the Madyan area of Swat, said surgery had been advised for his father because of back-related problems, but they had told to wait for 15 days due to the lack of beds in the hospital and, therefore, they would get treatment for his father at a private centre through insaf card.
Another reason for the delay in treatment of the insaf card holders is the huge rush at the big government and private hospitals in Peshawar, which is mainly affecting those patients coming from the far-flung areas of the province.
Sehat Sahulat Programme Deputy Director Dr Amir Rafique informed The News that referring patients was a government policy but it wasn’t the case in case of emergency. He added that no initiative could achieve 100 per cent success and they were trying to bring improvements.
According to Dr Amir, people are facing problems in getting the insaf cards due to the lack of awareness. The provincial government pays Rs 1,400 per year as premium for every family and it can get free medical treatment of Rs 540,000 per year at government and private hospitals.
Dr Amir said cards had been issued to over 1,565,000 families so far and the government was spending Rs 4.5 million daily on these patients. He added that 453,408 such patients had so far visited the hospitals, out of which 95,000 were admitted.
An amount of Rs 262,640,000 had so far been spent on free treatment, the programme deputy director said.