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Unpopular policies: G-B govt continues to take flak over decision to charge patients

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GILGIT:A year on, the government’s decision to charge patients at hospitals in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) continues to attract heavy criticism in the region.

HunzaNews April 13th, 2014.

“This is sheer injustice with the poor people of G-B,” said former G-B President of Pakistan Medical Association Dr Muhammad Zaman, while addressing a news conference at Gilgit Press Club on Saturday. Zaman runs a non-governmental organisation by the name of G-B World Forum.

“If we take up this matter with the United Nations Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR), it will be a huge embarrassment for the G-B government,” said Zaman. “I suggest they areconsider this decision before that happens.”

He demanded an independent audit be conducted of the money collected, saying that the flawed system at hospitals offers many chances for corruption. Zaman called on doctors to take the interests of patients into consideration as well, adding that it is something that their profession demands.

“The patients have to pay twice,” he said, “once in the hospitals that lack facilities and then in private clinics, as proper treatment is only available there.”

Senior doctors from Darail Valley, Diamer have also warned that they would take the issue to court if the government does not repeal the law.

The government faced stiff resistance from the public when the fees were first introduced in February 2013. However, the cabinet decided to impose the law due to its weak financial position.

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

Express Tribune,

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