During the past two years, I have had the misfortune of visiting a number of private hospitals in Lahore due to my ailing mother. To my dismay, services provided at private hospitals never matched the cost we were paying as clients. If anyone has ever been to a private healthcare facility in Pakistan, they’d know it without a shadow of a doubt that these visits are never easy in the pocket. And surely, after paying heavy bucks, one expects to be treated well –not just the patient but the attendants too. While the facilities are mostly top-notch, the management at these hospitals is usually substandard. Here’s what my experiences entail in a nutshell: the nursing staff at most of these big hospitals is inconsiderate and careless, with a lingering expression of annoyance on their faces. This exasperation is not limited to their expressions; they seem irritated when asked by the attendants to assist in some way, and do not hesitate in showing this irritation either by ignoring the call for help or by being downright rude. Their non-cooperative and boorish disposition is not the only issue. At one of the biggest and most expensive hospitals in Lahore, located in defense, I witnessed what I can only describe as the exceptional display of poor management by the staff when a patient suffering from a heart attack was taken to the emergency room. It was a heart-wrenching scene. Although my own mother lay there on the next bed, I could not help but notice the confusion and perplexity of the nursing staff as they gathered around that patient’s bed listening to the doctor’s directions. Not only were they ill-prepared to deal with such an emergency, but they would also seem baffled whenever the doctor called for required equipment. In another instance, the staff at the same hospital asked my father to take the responsibility of my sick brother’s cold sponging as they were “too busy” with other patients. More often than not one has to wait indefinitely for one’s turn despite getting appointments with the doctor days, weeks or sometimes months ago. The staff, again, unabashedly proclaims inefficacy and fails to coordinate in any way. The tale of mismanagement at these facilities does not end here. A healthcare facility in Lahore, owned by Dubai group, shocked us with an ugly display of poor management when we took my ailing mother there – on the insistent recommendation of her oncologist – for a CT scan. A screening test that should not have taken any longer than 15 minutes, was completed in an hour and a half due to the following reasons: despite my inquisition before the test started, the staff paused the ongoing test and asked that my immobile mother to be removed from the machine to change into the hospital gown; the test was paused several times afterwards due to their repetitive inefficiencies and “UPS breakdown”. To see if I was the only one to have experienced these inadequacies, I set out to share my experiences with friends and colleagues. It did not come as a surprise when most of these people admitted having undergone similar experiences as mine. What did surprise me, however, was how little has been said about it. We don’t hear the end of it when public healthcare sector is under discussion. As I started to look up information for this article, I found little to nothing about the poorly managed private hospitals, but there a plethora of reports available, stating the deplorable conditions of government hospitals. Could it be that criticising the government and its institutions has become a national habit? Or perhaps reporting the inadequacies of public sector provides us with a better news angle compared to highlighting the issues of a money minting business. Having served at a government hospital for more than two weeks as a community worker, I am well aware of the issues faced by public healthcare institutions. And they are plenty, to say the least. And while it does have its own deficiencies, it affords treatment to a huge portion of our population without costing big bucks. There is only a limited segment of society that can afford private health care, the rest resort to the public healthcare sector. Doctors treating at the government hospitals are mostly the same who practice privately at other hospitals for double the money. Patients getting treatment from private healthcare unit are at the same risk of buying counterfeit drugs as those at the public hospitals. This leaves large sums of money these private hospitals make per patient one of the only few factors that set them apart from their government counterparts. In exchange for these huge sums, patients and attendants expect better management, considerate staff, and facilities that are at par with the price they pay – at the least. While it may have become a money minting business for many, there ought to be some nobility present there. The blogger is a publicist, currently working for Carmudi.pk. She is also a freelance writer who strives to bring social issues to light, and identifies as a feminist.