SC gives Punjab health minister four months to procure 279 ventilators

The apex court's Lahore registry was hearing a case regarding the lack of ventilators in government hospitals. As the hearing got under way, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar expressed anger at the lack of facilities provided in public hospitals. Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid told the court that the summary to buy the ventilators is with the chief minister. “How many summaries are with the chief minister?” the chief justice questioned. “You think ventilators are a joke(?)” “We should call the chief minister here and get the summaries approved,” the top judge remarked. Dr Rashid further told the court that the previous government’s chief minister did not sign the summaries and the current chief minister cannot sign the summary due to Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority's rules. “Can hospitals run without ventilators?” the chief justice questioned. “Ventilators are taken from the poor and given to the rich.” Justice Nisar observed that private hospitals were charging Rs23,000 for a bed in intensive care unit and Rs5,000 for a ventilator. “It is the government’s responsibility to provide free ventilators to patients,” he said. The provincial health minister replied that she would personally look into the matter and get the summary approved by the chief minister in 10 days' time. The court then directed Dr Rashid to procure 279 ventilators within four months.
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