Sehat Sahulat Programme: Private hospitals found involved in hiring bogus anaesthetists.

BAHAWALNAGAR -- The services of the Sehat Sahulat Programme (SSP) in some of the private hospitals across the district have been suspended for the last eight days over the matter of uncertified and bogus anesthetists employed by them.

After a complaint was filed in this regard, the senior district medical officer (SDMO) was instructed by the Multan Zonal Office of the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan not only to verify the degrees and documents of the anesthetists working in the private hospitals on the Sehat programme panel but also check their presence during surgeries after citizens complained against the hospitals for hiring bogus anesthetists and quacks to perform anesthesia and surgeries.

A letter, issued by the State Life Zonal Office Multan on Nov 2 (a copy available with Dawn), instructed the Bahawalnagar SDMO to ensure implementation of protocols at the panel hospitals.

The letter instructed the SDMO to collect and verify the CNICs, certificates of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) or Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) and MoU (contract) of the anesthetists with the hospital.

Action taken against 18 hospitals; services at five still suspended

The letter further demanded halting new admissions of patients to such hospitals as had no proper anesthetists and keep the services suspended till the availability of certified anesthetists.

Following the instructions, the SDMO had suspended the Sehat card services of all 18 private hospitals in the district, however, later the services were resumed in about a dozen hospitals that ensured certified anesthetists. Sources claim that there are still five hospitals where services are suspended for not having certified experts.

Some PMDC/PMC certified anesthetists, while requesting anonymity, alleged that the illegal practice was going on for months with the connivance of the DMOs and officials of the insurance company of the Multan region. They said because of the indifference of the relevant authorities, quackery was being promoted and the private hospitals were encouraged to compromise patients' health.

The anesthetists claimed that several hospitals, having the capacity of merely 5 to 10 surgeries a day, were doing 30 to 50 surgeries a...

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