One of Pakistan’s Biggest Public Hospitals Stops Treating Health Card Patients

The future of the health card scheme is doubtful, as several medical procedures accessible to patients under this service have been discontinued at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).

General surgeries, neuro surgeries, ophthalmology operations, the ENT department, orthopedics, and procedures at other divisions have been halted. The Heart Center, Mother and Child Hospital (MCH), Pediatric Hospital, and Burn Center, on the other hand, continue to serve patients under the scheme.

Sajid Shah, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) spokesman, blamed the supplier for not delivering supplies on time but stated that the problem had been fixed and that usual services would resume soon.

Per an anonymous PIMS official, healthcare services have been terminated at the Islamabad Hospital, which is housed within PIMS and houses eight departments that handle adult patients.

Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif initiated the project in December 2015 for Islamabad residents, and it was later expanded to include all of Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

As their governments refused to participate in the federal government’s scheme, the people of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were unable to profit from the effort at the time.

Nevertheless, KP eventually introduced its own health care, the Sehat Insaf Card. The scheme was implemented throughout the nation except for Sindh under the reign of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

The health card, also known as the Qaumi Sehat Card/Sehat Sahulat Programme, covers open-heart surgeries, stent implantation, cancer management, neurosurgical procedures, burn management, disaster management, dialysis, critical care management, deliveries, C-section, and other surgical treatments up to an annual limit of Rs. 1 million per family.

The State Life Insurance Company of Pakistan has been involved with the initiative since its commencement, and it was awarded a three-year contract extension in 2021. (2022 to 2025). Presently, under this system, 100 percent of the populace of Islamabad, Punjab, KP, AJK, GB, and a few regions of Sindh are eligible for free care at approximately 600 impaneled hospitals in Pakistan.

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