PM’s financial assistance programme for treatment of poor patients on halt

In past a total of 1,002 poor patients benefited from  the project of treatment of fatal diseases since .2016

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Medical illustration of human anatomy, image taken from internet

In past a total of 1,002 poor patients benefited from  the project of treatment of fatal diseases since .2016

Pak Chronicle Report

Islamabad

At present a total of 2,133 cases of fatal diseases for financial assistance for medical treatment of poor patients are lying pending in Prime Minister’s office Grievances Wing.

The programme has been remained on halt since June 1st, 2018 except for one case with induction of caretaker government and hitherto remains so.

Moreover, the Finance Division while allocating Rs300 million during financial year 2018-19 has specified that said funds are meant to meet pending liabilities.

This was recently revealed by Prime Minister’s Public Affairs and Grievances Wing to a starred question of Senator Syed Muhammad Ali Shah Jamot.

The Senator had inquired about number of cases of financial assistance for medical treatment at present and procedure and estimated time laid down for approval of the said cases besides inquiring whether the procedure of these cases is lengthy and steps being taken to make procedure smooth and easy.

To this question the Upper House of the Parliament was told that since the launch of the programme a total of 1,002 poor patients have benefited from the treatment of fatal diseases.

As the high level cost of medical treatment of fatal diseases is involved which necessitates its utilization only for deserving and needy persons so rigid scrutiny regime has been put in place for verification. “Evidently it is time consuming,” the Senate was informed.

The reply maintains that since June 1st, 2018 except for once case, processing of such requests is on halt. Once the scheme is resumed bottlenecks, if any, will be critically appraised and removed with the approval of competent authority.

The PM’s office Islamabad on January 17, 2016 had approved this financial assistance programme for poor and needy persons for treatment of fatal or critical diseases. This is pertinent to mention here that former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Nawaz Sharif had approved this scheme. These fatal diseases include liver transplant, bone-marrow transplant and cancer.

These diseases were not covered under PM’s Health Insurance Programme. It was decided at that time that the detailed procedure for entertainment and process of requests for medical treatment for such diseases shall be dealt by Grievances Wing of the PM’s office in collaboration with National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination.

To get benefit of this scheme a rigid criteria was set so that only deserving citizens could be benefited out of it. On receipt of such an appeal/request, the social-economic status of the applicant shall be ascertained through District Administration on prescribed proforma and recommendations as to further course of treatment and estimated cost would be obtained by consulting a special medical board in Federal/Provincial Government hospitals as per location and convenience of the patients, the laid down procedure for this programme states. Moreover, it was also decided that on approval of a case by Prime Minister/Competent Authority on advice to this effect, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination shall make direct payment to the treating hospital within the country and through respective Pak Embassies where such treatment is allowed abroad.

In order to make funds available for the purpose in the shortest possible time an allocation of Rs100 million were made available with the ministry for the fiscal year 2015-16 through supplementary grant.

It was also decided that treatment expenses for non-affording patients below the limits of Rs0.6 million should be met out by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal funds. The estimated cost, as per design of the project, is supposed to be paid to the treating hospitals by the Ministry of National Health Services on the condition that these institutions shall furnish a vouched account in each case to the ministry immediately on discharge of a patient and return any unspent balance. The ministry was supposed to put in place a proper reconciliation mechanism. It was also decided that treatment abroad should not be preferred even if comparatively economical, unless recommended by the special media board in the absence of such facility in the country.

The PM at that time had initially approved seven cases of medical treatment of fatal diseases which had required funding up to the tune of Rs27.700 million. Furthermore, in order to ensure payment to treating hospitals, PM had ordered release of Rs100 million by Finance Division as supplementary grant in the mentioned period.

The process of verification and constitution of medical board shall, however, be completed by the Grievances Wing of PM’s office and it required personal approval of PM in each case.  However, provision of treatment to needy and poor patient suffering from fatal diseases, for the time being, is on the halt.

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