In the UK and USA, there are two kinds of medical staff in the teaching hospitals, the teachers called professors and the non-teachers who are consultants. The professors are not allowed any private practice and the consultants may do it, within the hospitals they are employed in. The result is that the medical students get best training and the hospitals work perfectly and the patients do not suffer any discrimination or inconvenience.

Unfortunately, the professors of our teaching hospitals are allowed private practice with the result that they have private clinics where they devote more time and energy. They do not teach their students diligently and also don’t pay any attention to the patients in these government hospitals. They try to refer them to their own private clinics. Ours is a poor country and the hospitals are inadequate in numbers. The patients are forced to visit these big government hospitals, where they get only short shifted and suffer untold misery. The other day, a friend’s son had some mental problems and he was taken to Nishtar Hospital Multan, where no specialist was available to attend to him. As a result, he had to visit a private clinic where he found the very same Nishtar hospital psychiatrists readily available. He received prompt treatment after paying a heavy fee.

The government of Punjab is requested to make these big teaching hospitals, which are run on poor people’s tax money, genuinely useful to the poor by prohibiting the professors to engage in private practice. If at all they are to be allowed private practice, then they should be bound to see free patients regularly during working hours and then be allowed private practice within the premises of the government hospital only after working hours depositing half the fee to the government. They should not be allowed to work in any private clinic outside the hospital.

MUHAMMAD YAQUB,

Multan, September 25.