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Taxing the sick at Taxila hospital

Taxing the sick at Taxila hospital

TAXILA: Parking fee charged at the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Taxila has put an additional financial burden on patients and their families.

This fee has been imposed in contradiction with the orders of the chief minister who abolished parking fee for patients at government hospitals across the province.

Visitors demanded that like other government health facilities in the province, free parking facility should be offered at the hospital.

According to the locals, this is the first time that parking fee is being charged at a government hospital of the area.

A parking fee of Rs10 per hour is charged for a motorcycle and Rs20 per hour is charged for a car or van. Long waits at the outpatient department are usual and with some patients staying overnight, the expense for parking adds up.

The families of patients complained that since no medicines are provided at the hospital and there is no canteen, they have to frequently leave the hospital to buy medicines and food etc.

If an attendant spends a night with the patient, Rs120 has to be paid for a motorcycle and Rs240 for other vehicles.

Meanwhile, no sheds have been built for parking and vehicles have to be left in the scorching sun.

Muneer Ahmed, an attendant, said: “My mother has been admitted here for a week and I had to pay Rs1,000 as car parking fee to the contractor at the Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital.”

“Patients are already burdened with buying bandages, disposable syringes and stitching thread. Now an additional expense of parking has to be paid,” he added.

When contacted, Medical Superintendent (MS) THQ hospital Dr Mohammad Shahid said that the contract was awarded by district health authorities after bidding and the hospital administration has nothing to do with it.

“We are aware of the grievances of the patients and their families but there is nothing we can do,” he said.

“No funds are available to build sheds in the parking lot,” he added.

District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Mohammad Rafeeq said the contract was awarded to the highest bidder.

The parking fee has been introduced at all health facilities across the province, with approval from the provincial government. When asked about the provision of sheds, he said such facilities are not even available at major hospitals of Rawalpindi.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2015

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