LAHORE - The Supreme Court on Saturday summoned chief executive officers ( CEOs) of major private hospitals of the city along with price list of services being provided to patients for September 16 (Sunday).

The court also ordered director general Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to inspect Hameed Latif Hospital and submit its report over violations committed in construction.

The court also sought report from the secretary environment about hospitals, including Surgimed Hospital and Akram Medical Complex, built near the drain.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar passed the orders while hearing a suo motu notice over expensive healthcare treatment by the city private hospitals.

During the proceedings, owners and CEOs of some hospitals appeared before the bench besides Chief Operation Officer (COO) Punjab Healthcare Commission Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan and the secretary health.

The chief justice observed that he received a lot of complaints against the private hospitals for charging more than reasonable amount for services. Whether the private hospitals are completely independent and there is no check over them, he questioned. He said that these hospital were exploiting patients' illness and charged Rs100,000 per day in some cases.

To a court query, Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan briefed the bench about steps taken by the commission for developing healthcare standards and their implementation since its inception. However, he admitted that the authority had not taken any action over the pricing issue, adding that prices were not uniform.

At this, the chief justice observed that it had almost become a curse to become sick in the country. He hinted that a forensic audit of top five hospitals could be ordered, adding that such institutions should charge reasonable profit. The chief justice also expressed its concern over violation of LDA rules by the Hameed Latif hospital.

The chief justice also expressed displeasure over private hospitals' act of using roads as parking spaces and warned that if cars were parked outside private hospitals, the hospital would be charged Rs10,000 per car and the amount would go to the dam fund.

Subsequently, the bench adjourning the matter till September 16 summoned the CEOs of Doctors Hospitals, Hameed Latif Hospital, Surgimed hospital and others along with price list.

The chief justice took notice of expensive treatment by private hospitals and summoned the CEO, Dr Ajmal and secretary health while hearing various cases at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry.

NAB told to review list of higest paid officials 

The Supreme Court directed the National Accountability Bureau Lahore Director General to review the list of officers appointed in public sector companies on more than Rs300,000 salary per month. The bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued the order while hearing a suo motu notice regarding huge salary structure of officers of the public sector companies in Punjab.

NAB Director General Saleem Shahzad informed the court that a bank account had been opened for voluntary return of the additional salaries, received by the civil servants as heads or officials of the 56 public sector companies in the province. The Punjab government had also been informed about it, he added.

At this, the chief justice asked the details of 18 officials who had opposed the return of salaries and wanted to contest their case. To which, Dr Raheel Ahmad Siddiqui, former chairperson of Punjab Revenue Authority, apprised the court that his name was also included in those 18 officials. He was a grade-21 officer and was withdrawing more than Rs 300,000 as salary, permissible under the rules, but the NAB authorities included his name in the list of officers who were receiving market-based salaries, over and above their regular salaries, he added. At this, the chief justice termed the NAB list incorrect and directed for reviewing it.