The caretaker Punjab government has decided to give control of jail hospitals constructed in 43 jails across Punjab to the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD).
A senior official who is part of Chief Minister Punjab Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi’s team told The Friday Times (TFT) that the decision was taken by the chief minister in order to provide better healthcare facilities to the inmates who are suffering from different diseases in jails.
A senior official from Punjab’s home department confirmed to TFT that the decision is taken to hand over administrative and financial matters of all 20 beds of hospitals located in different jails across Punjab.
P&SHD to procure medicines for jail hospitals
One of the officials of the P&SHD department who is not authorized to speak to the media said that all the medicines which would be required in jail hospitals will also be purchased and procured by P&SHD after this new policy decision of handing over jail hospitals to the department.
P&SHD will also be responsible for appointments and transfers of healthcare staff and doctors
The P&SHD and home department officials maintained that after the amendment to jail rules the appointment of officials and other healthcare staff including nurses and doctors would be with the P&SHD department as well and jail officials would have nothing to do with it.
Summary to amend Jail Rules sent to CM for final node
A senior official from the home department maintained that summary to amend rules in order to hand over the control of jail hospitals to P&SHD has been sent to CM Punjab for the final node and it is likely to be placed on the agenda of the next cabinet meeting where it will be approved and the jail hospitals would be handed over to P&SHD.
Prisoners happy with this decision
One of the prisoners, *Ghulam Mustafa, who is in Kot Lakhpat jail since 2013 told TFT that he is residing in Kot Lakhpat jail for a decade but jails and its prisoners were never a priority of any chief minister during the last 10 years it Shehbaz Sharif, Sardar Usman Khan Buzdar or Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
“But surprisingly jails and the well-being of its prisoners is one of the top priorities of current caretaker CM Punjab who has visited the jail at least dozens of times since he took oath in January this year,” he noted.
Agreeing with him, *Tehseen Khan, another prisoner said that the provincial chief not only visits them but also inquires about the healthcare and other facilities provided to the prisoners in jail and issues directives on the spot due to which the condition and facilities in jails have improved significantly this year.
“We would be able to get better treatment directly from doctors and staff of P&SHD who are equipped to provide better healthcare facilities across the country in government hospitals and now prisoners in jails would be able to get state of the art facilities as well,” *Abubakar Ahmed, a prisoner who is suffering from kidney disease told TFT in an emotional tone.
The decision will help jail warders, and officials concentrate on providing other facilities to jail prisoners
One of the officials at camp jail Lahore said that it is a good decision as it would help jails wardens and other staff members to concentrate on other administrative matters and provide better facilities to prisoners.
*Names of prisoners are changed to protect identity.