KP plans free treatment for heart patients
PESHAWAR, Dec 3: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to provide free treatment to the patients suffering from cardiac ailments, official sources say.
They said that the plan was aimed at putting in place mechanism under which 70 per cent patients would be provided free angiography, angioplasty and other services at the cardiology department of Lady Reading Hospital.
“We want to perform 5,000 angiography and angioplasty of poor patients in the department per year. The government is allocating Rs100 million for the programme that will start in a month. It will get go-ahead from the finance department before approval by the chief minister,” said the officials associated with the plan.
They said that the plan was part of the government’s initiatives to develop two more facilities for cardiac patients at Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar and Ayub Teaching Hospital (ATH) Abbottabad besides LRH and provide free diagnostic and treatment facilities to them.
The officials said that government provided Rs40 million, grant-in-aid, to LRH during the last fiscal year but only 38 patients received free angiography there. The number of paid patients was 2993. During the same period out of the total 1,069 angioplasty, 858 were paid and 209 were carried out free of cost.
They said that 31,073 small and large procedures were performed at LRH and out of them 28,477 were paid while 2,596 were carried out free of cost.
They added that the plan was developed after initial home work to enhance capacity of the cardiology department at LRH and enable it to receive more free patients.
“The patients will get free services from 8am to 2pm at the department,” they said.
The officials said that the cardiology department, which had been autonomous since 1997, would come under the control of LRH chief executive after implementation of the plan.
They said there was political will behind the plan as majority of the patients currently paid at the department.
“Next year, the grant will be increased and all the patients will be provided free treatment,” they said. The patients should not be charged at government-owned facilities, they added.
The officials said that cardiologists and other staff would lose their hefty shares in the money received from the patients. “We are also hammering out a new formula for distribution of money, got through users’ charges, among the staff at the department,” they said.
The officials said that no notification was issued regarding of autonomy of the cardiology department. The department had actually been allowed to charge patients after 2pm but they were charged in official working hours from 8am to 2pm, they said.
Currently, each patient has to pay Rs200,000 for angiography and angioplasty at the government ward.
The officials said that government was in touch with Punjab Institute of Cardiology which had performed 80 per cent free cases last year. “The institute did 16,000 cases, including 79 per cent poor and 21 percent paid. We have taken help from the institute,” they said.
They said that patients paid more than Rs10,000 for angiography in LRH while fee for the same was Rs7,970 in ATH, though the later did only 74 cases last year owing to its faulty machines.
The patients would undergo angiography and angioplasty in one session in LRH, which had got state-of-the-art machines and highly-trained cardiologists and staff, the officials said.