Most pathol­ogy labs run by tech­ni­cians, docs only sign re­ports

PA­TIENTS IN JEOP­ARDY NMMC has no record of the num­ber of pathol­ogy labs in the city or whether they are run ac­cord­ing to norms

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - MUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ■ ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

VASHI:

The city is strewn with pathol­ogy lab­o­ra­to­ries that are do­ing brisk busi­ness. How­ever, there is lit­tle check on their func­tion­ing. In a shock­ing rev­e­la­tion, sev­eral pathol­ogy labs are re­port­edly de­pen­dent only on the tech­ni­cians, with doc­tors merely sign­ing the re­ports and be­ing paid a per­cent­age for this.

What makes it even more wor­ri­some is that the health depart­ment of the Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (NMMC) has lit­tle in­for­ma­tion on the num­ber of pathol­ogy labs in the city or whether they are run ac­cord­ing to norms.

Nizam Shaikh, a s ocial worker who has been pur­su­ing this is­sue, said, “Ques­tions are be­ing raised on the func­tion­ing of sev­eral labs, where nu­mer­ous med­i­cal tests are con­ducted. There are al­le­ga­tions of not all tests that are rec­om­mended be­ing ac­tu­ally re­quired. They of­ten seem to be a part of the ‘cut’ cul­ture.”

He added, “The pa­tients blindly trust their doc­tors, which some­times leads to them be­ing fleeced.”

Ac­cord­ing to Prasad Kulka­rni, a mem­ber of Maharashtra As­so­ci­a­tion of Prac­ti­cis­ing Pathol­o­gist and Mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist, “In­quiries re­veal that sev­eral pathol­ogy labs are run by tech­ni­cians when it is manda­tory for the re­ports to be signed by an MBBS, MD or a qual­i­fied doc­tor who is ex­pected to ver­ify the sam­ples.”

He added, “What ac­tu­ally hap­pens is that the tech­ni­cian does all the test­ing and just one doc­tor signs the re­ports of sev­eral labs and takes his com­mis­sion. Kopar Khairane seems to have the largest num­ber of labs in the city.”

Dr Pr a k a s h D i ve from Kalam­boli, also a mem­ber of the as­so­ci­a­tion, has raised his voice. “I had sought in­for­ma­tion un­der the RTI from the NMMC on the way th­ese pathol­ogy labs func­tion. How­ever, I re­ceived a re­ply from the health depart­ment stat­ing that the civic body does not have any record of it,” he said.

“The pathol­ogy labs are an as­pect of the health­care sys­tem as it is on the ba­sis of their re­ports that doc­tors pre­scribe medicines and de­cide on treat­ments,” he said.

Dive said the govern­ment needs to en­force the stric­tures that are in place to en­sure peo­ple’s health is not jeop­ar­dised. “We have learnt that the gov­ern-

IT IS MANDA­TORY FOR THE RE­PORTS TO BE SIGNED BY AN MBBS, MD OR A QUAL­I­FIED DOC­TOR WHO IS EX­PECTED TO VER­IFY THE SAM­PLES.

ment has now is­sued in­struc­tions to stop giv­ing the shop and es­tab­lish­ment cer­tifi­cate to the labs. While the norms are strict, the govern­ment needs to en­sured they are fol­lowed,” he added.

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