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Satara in Maharashtra becomes first district to implement SC order allowing pathologists to certify lab reports

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Thursday, October 15, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Satara district in Maharashtra has become the first district in the country to implement the Supreme Court order making countersign of a registered medical practitioner with a postgraduate qualification in pathology mandatory on a laboratory report.

Satara collector Shekhar Singh in an order on September 30, 2020 stated that only registered pathologists will conduct medical tests in private pathology labs or hospitals in the district and sign the test reports.

Stern action will be taken against those found violating the order under Maharashtra Medical Practitioners (MMP) Act, 1961, stated the order.

Satara district collector has issued the order following reports of non-pathologists performing medical tests in several hospitals and laboratories in the district and signing the test reports which led to misdiagnosis of a medical condition, illness, injury many times, resulting in improper medical care, delayed treatment.

There are around 150 private path labs in the district and around 50 pathologists.

Earlier the Maharashtra Association of Practising Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM) called on Satara collector and requested him to implement the apex court order to stop technicians, holding either a Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (DMLT) or Certificate degree in Medical Laboratory Technology (CMLT) from certifying medical test reports.

Resting the case on the issue of who can sign laboratory reports, the Supreme Court on December 12, 2017 pronounced the order stating that laboratory reports can be countersigned by a registered medical practitioner with a post graduate qualification in pathology.

As per the apex court order, DMLT or CMLT qualification holders cannot certify medical test reports. They can only conduct tests under supervision of pathologists.

The court delivered the order while hearing the matter of North Gujarat Unit of Association of Self Employed Owners (Paramedical) of Private Pathology Laboratories of Gujarat versus North Gujarat Pathologists Association.

Welcoming the Satara collector’s circular effecting the implementation of the apex court order, Dr Sandeep Yadav, chairman of MAPPM said “We are hopeful of its implementation in the state sooner or later which will curb misdiagnosis or wrong diagnosis of a medical condition, thus reducing the patients’ treatment expense by 30%. The laboratory reports are often a decision maker in clinical treatment. The lab reports issued by non-pathologists who do not have requisite qualification to run laboratories independently without supervision of M.M.C/MCI registered pathologists, often lead to wrong diagnosis and wrong or delayed treatment. This is causing a major health hazard.”

He said Maharashtra medical education minister Amit Deshmukh discussed the execution of the Supreme Court order with lawmakers during state assembly session early this year.

Maharashtra has been at the forefront in ensuring quality healthcare services to all at affordable prices. It was the first state in the country which reduced the price of RT-PCR-based COVID-19 tests charged by private labs by 40% in a bid to boost testing numbers in the state. The state government lowered the price of high resolution CT (HRCT) scan for COVID-19 patients by more than half, fixing it between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 3,000 depending on the machine's features, he stated.

So far High Courts in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan upheld the Supreme Court order.


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SATYANARAYAN GARG Oct 16, 2020 11:11 AM
The statutory agencies of other states ,who are responsible for enforecement of the Honble Supreme Court direction shall be compled to take simillar action .
Dr Subhash Shisodiya Oct 15, 2020 9:48 AM
Good move , delayed but welcome .
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