LAHORE - The laboratories in the public hospitals of the City lack Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), testing facilities, equipment and infrastructure to cater to the diagnostic needs of growing number of patients in the indoor and outdoor wards of public hospitals. Doctors of public hospitals told The Nation that tests and reports conducted by ill-equipped laboratories of public hospitals are not fully authentic for diagnosis of a disease. The medical reports of one public hospital is not acceptable even in other public hospitals due to lack of authenticity and low credibility of both reports of the labs and labs technicians working in the government hospitals, they said. Sources said the business of the pathological laboratories in the private sector is booming only due to poor labs infrastructure in public hospitals and even the poor patients are compelled to go the private labs for medical tests at heavy rates. The private pathological labs and clinics are fully equipped to conduct each test and they are making money due to the flaws in the labs of government hospitals, which push patients load to private labs. In most of the cases patients belonging to the poor segments of the society are deprived of in time healthcare due poor diagnostic faculties at public hospitals as they depend on the reports of public hospitals labs. About 80 per cent people cannot afford to pay cost of the tests in private laboratories unless death knows at their doors and they sell property or jewellery to avail testing facilities in the private sector labs. Every time when patients are referred from one hospital to another hospital, the patients are advised to conduct anew tests, as doctors themselves do not rely on authenticity of the tests, reports of most of the public hospitals in their daily practice. Sources in the Health Department told The Nation that machines of the high cost tests like MRI and CT SCAN often remain out of order and families of patients whether they can afford or not have to go to private labs operating in the proximity of the government hospitals for costly tests. Sources said the private laboratories pay 20 per cent of the cost of a test to senior doctors who refer a patient to a private laboratory for tests and this is the reason that private labs are thriving while labs of public hospitals are in shambles. Sources revealed that even some doctors of the ranks associate professors and professors of the public hospitals refer patients to private laboratories for tests and take 20 to 40 per cent of test charges from the said laboratories under a contract. Sources said it is a common scene in labs of public hospitals of Lahore that some chemicals required even for conducting ordinary tests are not available or they are not supplied to the labs for months despite demands from the laboratory staff of the labs. Sources said the quality labs are not priority of the Medical Superintendents (MS) of public hospital so new equipment is not installed in time despite the fact it is approved and available. Pakistan Medical Association (Punjab) President Ashraf Nizami told The Nation that due to prevalent mismanagement and lack of equipment the tests of the labs of public hospitals are no reliable in diagnosis of fatal diseases. SOPs standards have not yet been set for laboratories. He condemned the doctors who refer patients for tests in private labs for their vested benefits. Chairman CMs Task Force on Health, Dr Saeed Elahi told The Nation that the labs of public hospitals are well-equipped but the doctors are dishonest who refer patients to private labs for taking 20 per cent share from private labs. For instance labs of Mayo Hospital and Jinnah Hospital have been set at a cost of Rs200 million with all equipment but doctors give business to privates labs and spread rumour about poor repute of government labs. The upcoming healthcare commission bill will regulate doctors, hospitals, clinics and labs by classifying category of each labs-both public and private.