LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed all government hospitals of the province to introduce three-shift system for round the clock provision of dialysis facilities to patients suffering from renal failure. A notification issued in this regard has termed the decision as pro-poor initiative and the copy of the notification has also been sent to all the principals of teaching hospitals, heads of special medical institutions, all executive district officers (Health) and medical superintendents of certain hospitals in Lahore. Sources in the health department said the decision would really benefit poor patients as in the past poor patients of renal failure used to be referred to private hospitals of the city for their treatment after 8:00 pm where they had to pay heavy amounts for their dialysis. They said after 8:00 pm dialysis centers in government hospitals were closed down and poor patients had to go to the private hospitals getting expensive treatment whereas in government hospitals this facility is free of cost. A doctor said a new patient suffering from Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) has to pay Rs 20,000 to 30,000 first time while after that he has to pay Rs 2,000 to 3,000 on per visit. He said delay in the provision of this facility for 24 hours was due to the monopoly of the urologists who were engaged in minting money from the private hospitals owners by referring CRF patient to them for dialysis after 8:00 pm. Dr Amir serving at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said with this decision thousands of poor patients would get benefit. About the cause of the renal failure, a doctor said that use of steroid on the recommendation of quacks and other practitioners, not curing of renal stones in time, high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and use of high molecular weight medicines are the main reasons behind the disease. Swelling on the face, feet and hands of the patients are the main symptoms of this disease. A young doctor commenting upon the decision said no doubt it was good and pro-poor decision but there should be a nephrologist for the medication of CRF patient as urologist is only capable to conduct dialysis and further medication of the patient is job of a nephrologist but unfortunately there are only three to four nephrologists in the city hospitals.