MULTAN/MUZAFFARGARH-During his visit to different state-run hospitals, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was remonstrated by the patients about the unavailability of medicines, shortage doctors and staff, insanitation and substandard construction of a hospital building.

However, the chief minister announced kidney transplantation would begin at Multan Institute of Kidney Diseases very soon. He added that provision of free medicines for the patients at all hospitals would be ensured.

Talking to the journalists here after visiting the Kidney Centre, the CM took serious notice of poor quality of construction of the building and suspended superintendent engineer (SE), executive engineer (XEN), subdivisional officer (SDO) and other officers of the Building Department besides ordering inquiry against them.

Visiting the kidney centre, the CM inquired after the health of the patients besides asking them question about facilities and availability of medicines. Some of the patients complained about non-availability of medicines at the hospitals on which the CM got angry and directed hospital administration to ensure supply of medicines to the patients.

He further issued order for reimbursement of money to those patients, who had purchased medicines. He said that the government spent billions of rupees on construction of hospitals but they were useless if the patients were forced to purchase medicines out of their pocket. “The administration of all hospitals may note that i am representative of the poor. We are releasing uninterrupted funding for the hospitals and I’ll not tolerate the reports that patients are denied free medicines,” he warned.

Earlier, the CM visited different departments of the institute where he was told that 40 dialysis machines were functional and the patients were being offered free dialysis facility. The CM located a fault in a newly constructed wall and suspended SE, XEN, SDO and other concerned officials of the buildings department. He declared that the CM Inspection Team would investigate into the matter and the persons responsible for poor construction would be punished according to the law. The CM also took notice of long queues of patients and asked hospital administration of increase its worker strength instead of making patients to stand in queues. He said that his government was determined to offer high quality treatment facilities to the kidney patients and all the expenses on their treatment would be borne by the state.

Talking to the media persons, he said that he came to the Kidney Centre for second visit to see whether the faults he had located during his first visit had been removed. “But I am highly dismayed. Nothing has been done. I have directed the CM Inspection Team and Anti Corruption Team to investigate into the issue and present report,” he added. He said that the hospital was given 100 per cent funding and the complaints regarding denial of free medicines were unbearable. He disclosed that an officer had been deployed to check the medicine stock at pharmacy of the hospital and an inquiry would be held on the issue of non-availability of free medicines.

He said that the tap in his room was without water. “It’s highly disappointing. If the so-called VIP room is without water, what will be the condition of ordinary patients,” he said. He said that the government had started taking steps for improving the conditions of hospitals and this uphill task would be accomplished at all costs. He said that it was the responsibility of health department, administration and other departments concerned to improve the system but they failed to do their job. He declared that he would visit the Kidney Centre again after a few days.

Answering a question on alleged use of protocol facilities by the son of Medical Superintendent of Nishtar Hospital, the CM said that he himself never enjoyed protocol so how could he permit anyone else to avail such luxuries. “I have come here by a van. If we located anything in this issue, we’ll take action,” he added.

Later on, the Chief Minister visited Racip Teyyep Erdogan Government of Punjab Hospital and Emine Erdogan Danish Care Girls School in Muzaffargarh. He said on the occasion that the hospital would get 250 more beds after the completion of extension project. He declared that the extension project would be accomplished by December 25 and the residents of the area would get high quality healthcare facilities. He warned that no compromise would be made on the quality of the work and a third party inspection would be carried out.

The CM also visited the school and talked to the students. Talking on th eoccasion, the CM said that Quaid-i-Azam achieved Pakistan for all but unfortunately Pakistan for the rich was different for the one for the poor. “We’re determined to eliminate this divide,” he added. He said that it was his mission to spread literacy in the society, adding that the glowing faces of the students were the strongest evidence of a bright future of the country. He said that he wanted to uplift the standard of all government schools at the level of Danish Schools. He said that the school was a living example of Pak-Turk friendship, adding that Turkey stood with Pakistan through thick and thin. He said that the Pak-Turk relations touched new heights during current regime of PML-N.

MPA Hamad Nawaz Tipu, MPA Mian Alamdar Hussain Qureshi, President of South Punjab Global Union of Journalist Dr Khalid Mehmood and other notables were present.