ISLAMABAD: Legislators in the Lower House of parliament were told on Friday that there was no authority for regulation of fee structure of various medical tests, investigation and procedures at the private hospitals in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination admitted that some private hospitals were charging higher consultation fee from patients. However, it said that a bill titled ‘Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Act, 2017’ was introduced in the National Assembly on November 9, 2017.“Realising the fact that private health sector is unregulated, public sector health faculties are providing poor quality of healthcare services and there are no standard of quality assurance in the country, there is a dire need to ensure provision of quality health care services, promote patient safety and provide mechanism of banning quackery in its all forms and manifestations by the health sector. Therefore, it is very essential to establish Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority to regulate both public and private sector in Islamabad,” reads the bill. MNA Saman Sultana Jafri asked from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination whether there was any regulatory authority for regulating the fee structure of various medical tests, investigation and procedures at private hospitals in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) at present. In response, Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar said that there was no authority for regulation of fee structure of various medical tests, investigations and procedures in the private hospitals in the ICT. “However, the ministry was cognisant of the issue and had already developed, processed and tabled the bill titled ‘Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Act, 2017’ in the National Assembly. The bill has been approved in principle by the National Assembly Standing Committee for NHSR&C for further necessary action,” she said.The minister informed the legislators that the consultation fee was charged on the basis of services provided by consultants and according to their qualifications.She said that the core functions of the healthcare regulation act would be to maintain, register all healthcare establishments and set standards for registration, and licensing of healthcare establishments. “Registration of all healthcare establishments, health professional and equipment and their notification in the Gazette also included in its function. The act would also help in issuing of licences for defining scope and extent of healthcare services to be provided by a healthcare establishment. It would ensure enforcement of standards of safety for patients, healthcare professional and other staff in the healthcare establishment. The act would also enquire and investigate into violation of any of the provision of this act by healthcare establishments. It would also issue standing order to ensure to ensure provision of quality healthcare services by the healthcare establishment.”Earlier in the month, the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination had approved the Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Bill, 2017. Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2017.