Gilgit-Baltistan:GB Hospitals to Charge Patients in Order to Generate Funds

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GILGIT (ET): Resisting public pressure, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has decided to charge patients at government hospitals.

The move is aimed at generating funds for hospitals and to ensure higher quality, said G-B Information Minister Ali Madad Sher.

The government faced stiff resistance from the public when the fees were first introduced in February this year. However, due to the government’s weak financial position, the cabinet decided to impose the fees in a meeting on Tuesday.

The revenue collected will be deposited in the national exchequer and a committee headed by medical superintendents in all government hospitals in G-B will be responsible for appropriating it, accordingly.

As a result of the new fees, patients will be liable to pay Rs100 for ultrasound, Rs2,250 for CT scans, and up to Rs300 for surgery.

Minister for Health Gulbar Khan opposed the decision during the meeting. He had argued the government should not overburden people by introducing medical costs, but the rest of the cabinet members were not convinced.

“I had to respect the view point of others as the rest of the members were in favour of the charges,” Gulbar said.

It is widely believed the decision comes as a result of a financial crunch the government may be going through as it is unable to increase the budget for healthcare. The burden will now be shared by the patients, who already suffer from food inflation and poor health facilities in the region.

The bench directed officials to have the body excavated under the supervision of a magistrate and conduct a second autopsy if results from the first examination did not include intoxication or rape.

Javed told the bench a committee has been formed to probe the issue. The bench, however, ordered an investigation be conducted from scratch by the police investigation wing.

It ordered the city police chief to immediately task the superintendent of police (investigation) with carrying out the investigation and submit results within seven days.

The bench also ordered all surgical equipments be taken into possession and CCTV footage be produced before the court, adding paramedical staff be investigated too.

The court warned Javed of stern action if another incident of the same nature is reported from the hospital. The case was adjourned till Thursday.



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