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MSHRC seeks withdrawal of Maha govt’s circular allowing DMLT technicians to run path labs

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has urged the state government to withdraw its circular dated May 26, 2016 allowing persons with Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (DMLT) to run pathology laboratories independently which is in violation of varied High Court orders and Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act 1961 and Medical Council of India norms.

The commission in its letter last week of January 2018 has asked the government to implement circular dated May 24, 2016 barring DMLT technicians from running path labs independently without the presence of a qualified pathologist.

The government resolution dated May 24 was in consonance with the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act 1961, which states that running a pathology laboratory and examining the samples of blood, urine and other body fluids/tissues and signing out corresponding reports is a medical practice. Such specialized practice can be carried out under the direct supervision of a qualified pathologist (MBBS with post graduate qualifications in pathology) who is also registered with the Maharashtra Medical Council or the Medical Council of India.

The May 24 notification was stayed by the government order dated May 26, 2016 till further notice.

Acting on a complaint by Maharashtra Association of Practitioners in Pathology and Microbiology (MAPPM) regarding illegal path labs run by DMLT technicians, the commission has sent notices to chief secretary- Maharashtra government, principal secretary- health services, principal secretary- medical education and drugs, the registrar- Maharashtra Medical Council, director of health services asking them to file action taken report on its directions within eight weeks.

MAPPM in its complaint stated that thousands of illegal pathology laboratories are being run by technicians having DMLT or equivalent qualifications in the state because of laxity or apathy on the part of concerned supervisory authorities. This results in wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment jeopardizing health and safety of the public.

It is stated, many a time registered medical practitioners unknowingly and many times knowingly (in collusion with these laboratories) ask the patients to get medical test reports from particular laboratories (illegal) only, which results in wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment also. Such illegal labs run by unqualified people are playing with the health of the innocent patients and making huge amount of money.

Though the pathological reports are required to be certified by qualified / registered pathologists, the same are given by the technicians with disclaimer like "strictly for the use of medical practitioners and pathologists." These are not medical diagnostic results.

Though the Central government and various High Courts including Bombay High Court and Gujarat High Court have issued a number of directions/orders prohibiting laboratories run by technicians, same are not implemented. In spite of repeated communications and representations, the state government has not taken any strict action, thereby jeopardizing the health of innocent persons and this act is violation of human rights, said the complainant.

On perusal of the complaint and accompanying documents, the Commission called for the report from the Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Drugs, Director of Medical Educations of Health Services, Director of Health Services.

Taking into considerations all the records, including various directions/ Government Resolutions issued by the Centre as well as state, various pronouncements of High Courts and Supreme Court and representations of complainant and concerned authorities, the commission has concluded that there are provisions which require qualified pathologists registered and recognized only by the Authority under Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 to certify medical test reports but what is lacking is strict implementation. Hence illegal functioning of certain unauthorized laboratories by unqualified persons is going on.

MSHRC held that unless strict implementation is not carried out as per various pronouncements of the Courts and even the norms setting by the MCI and the law prevalent, the same will be amounting to serious violation of basic human rights viz. right to health.

It appealed to the Maharashtra government to immediately withdraw the GR dated 26.05.2016 and implement the GR dated 24.05.2016 in letter and spirit. The state government shall implement the directions issued by various Courts referred to above in respect of running of pathological laboratories immediately and report compliance in eight weeks from the date of receipt of order, the commission concluded.

 

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Pradeep Sonawane Feb 7, 2018 10:35 AM
Right decision by human rights organisations. Congrates.
 
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