It has been our great misfortune that private medical facilities provided to our middle class society are not at all regulated. All consultants of similar qualification and post qualification experience should be charging a set maximum amount of fees to be fixed by the concerned Government agencies and Medical Associations but unfortunately this remains a dream. In this way every affected person will know the financial impact and can plan his healthcare accordingly. In our country the Military Hospital Consultant, even at the rank of General, are charging Rs. 600, whereas private Consultants are charging Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,500 per visit. Can someone justify this disparity?

Similarly surgeons of various specializations are charging different operation fee for the same treatment at different commercial hospitals.

Another area the average white collar patient has to face is the exorbitantly high charges for tests. The hepatitis B&C screening test is performed at Rs. 750 in Sheikh Zaid Hospital but in Chughtai Lab it is done for Rs. 2,500. The only reason could be the high rate of profit.

A highly misleading concept playing vital role in, uncalled-for, escalation of the rates is that some of the patients are on the panel of some organization or covered by an insurance company. This illusion is silently encouraging the commercial managers to wrongly think that the expenses are not borne by the patient so, they could do whatever they liked. They forget to understand that the extra amount, so charged is added to the cost of product of the particular company resulting in undue increase of sales price eventually to be borne by every citizen of Pakistan, whether rich or poor.

It is amazing to note that there are commercial hospitals where room charges for a night are out of any proportion. At some places these are as high as a 5 star hotel. It is requested to those people who matter (relevant Government agencies/ PMA’s) associated with cost accountants to establish an empowered cell to accurately determine the cost based feasible rates for all categories of commercial hospitals, which should be affordable for the common man.

I have tried to unveil the tip of iceberg and am afraid that the iceberg itself is still a huge hurdle restricting smooth sailing of nation in almost all spheres of social life.

FARRUKH AZIZ,

Lahore, December 7.