LAHORE: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has initiated a proposal to invoke special clauses for treatment of Covid-19 patients at the country’s over 110 leading private sector hospitals attached to the recognised medical and dental colleges.
The PMDC has called a meeting recently in Islamabad to discuss one-point plan, i.e., provision of free beds in teaching hospitals attached with the private sector medical colleges of the country.
It is being called a major initiative during the pandemic to help bring down death rate and extend support to patients in search of beds in the state-run hospitals.
The council called the meeting on the request of the University of Health Sciences(UHS) Lahore.
Through a letter, the UHS requested the federal institution to introduce a uniform policy to ensure treatment of the coronavirus patients at the private hospitals, attached to the recognised medical colleges of the country.
If the proposal is materialised in a true spirit, Pakistan would have approximately 35,000 beds with the sufficient number of intensive care units of the leading private hospitals of all four provinces and Azad Jammu & Kashmir for the treatment of corona patients.
The UHS recently had also called a meeting of the syndicate and approved a scheme, directing the affiliated institutions in Punjab and AJK to allocate 150 free beds in wards and ten each in the ICUs for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
UHS vice-chancellor Prof Javed Akram, who is also council member of the PMDC, wrote to the PMDC president.
“As the head of the sole regulatory body of the country concerning medical education, you must be aware of the havoc being caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan, especially in recent days. The burden on public sector hospitals is enormous, and growing fissures on Pakistan’s health system are just one part of the crisis that is adding more than 6,000 coronavirus patients a day.”
He apprised the PMDC president of the UHS’s decision to ensure availability of free beds at the private hospitals attached to the medical colleges of Punjab and AJK for the Covid-19 patients.
“Sir, we believe that it is high time that the regulators such as PMDC stepped in, resort to patient-centric approach during the crisis and stand with the patients and their families,” Prof Akram said while addressing to the PMDC president.
As per the PMDC’s regulations 2018, these medical institutions were bound (making it mandatory) to allocate 50pc of beds free for the patients at the affiliated teaching hospitals.
There are a total of 110 private sector medical institutions in Pakistan, including 70 medical and 40 dental colleges.
Of them, 65 are located in Punjab, 27 in Sindh, 29 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, four in AJK and three in Baluchistan.
As per PMDC regulations, each private medical college must have a 500-bed teaching hospital attached to it, whereas some of them have more than one assigned hospitals.
“In each teaching hospital, 50pc of the beds shall operate free for accommodation and consultation while treatment expenses including laboratory services, medicines, and supplies, if any, shall be charged from the patients on a non-profit basis,” reads the regulations.
As PMDC council member, Prof Akram said if the schemes were materialised in real sense, the country would have thousands of beds for patients of Covid-19.
“This scheme would help steer the country out of the massive health crisis by managing critical and other patients with a moderate history of the disease,” Prof Javed Akram said.
When contacted PMDC Registrar retired Brig Dr Hafizuddin Ahmed Siddiqi confirmed to Dawn that the proposal to start allocation of free beds at the private hospitals in Pakistan is under discussion.
“There are a total of 110 private sector medical and dental institutions recognised with the PMDC, and we are trying to engage their beds for Covid-19 patients,” he said.