Lack of regulatory framework haunts diagnostic services in Andhra Pradesh

A majority of the diagnostic centres are running their laboratories without even registration.

Published: 23rd January 2017 01:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2017 01:37 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Contrary to the usual perception, many diagnostic centres across the State are not maintaining hygiene, deploying trained staff and equipped to handle and dispose of the biological samples, thanks to lack of a regulatory framework and body.

A diagnostic centre should get registered with the District Medical and Health Officer (DM&HO), be accredited with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and have a certified pathologist and qualified paramedical personnel to handle the biological samples. However, with the absence of a regulatory body, a majority of the diagnostic centres are running their laboratories without even registration.

“Each diagnostic centre varies from the other in several aspects including the usage of equipment and price. Surprisingly, the results also differ from one another, making it tough to distinguish the accurate ones. This surely leads to major disasters when the treatment is completely based on the diagnosis report. All this because of lack of a regulatory body,” wondered B Krishnaiah, a consumer rights activist. 

Usually, the small labs thrive on cut-price policy. For example, a complete haemogram and thyroid profile cost about Rs 600 at recognised centres and a meagre Rs 200 at smaller units. One might need to compromise with accuracy at the small, unrecognised labs.

Does the patient has to endure it all?

Meanwhile, the registered medical practitioners (RMP) are recommending lab investigations and minting more money in the form of commissions, referrals, etc. 

“The RMPs should offer basic treatment and are not eligible to write for medical investigations. But, a majority of the patients are visiting the doctors with almost 10-20 reports of various tests, suggested by RMPs. Such practices should be curbed by the government,” said Dr. N Jaganmohan Rao, superintendent of GGH, Vijayawada.

While there are over 1.25 lakh diagnostic centres across the State, only 10 per cent are accredited with the NABL and only 63,721 diagnostic centres are being run by certified paramedical staff. The rest are being operated by personnel trained by government organisations under various employment schemes.

According to eligibility criteria, paramedical personnel are eligible to set up diagnostic centres and the skill development trainees can work under them. But in most cases, people undergoing vocational training are running the labs by resorting to fake registrations and malpractice.

“The paramedical personnel are finding it hard to get opportunities or establishing their own units. The eligible people are made to stay back and the rest are ruling the industry. The government must conduct a thorough check and restrict fake registrations,” demanded G Sharma, secretary of Krishna District Clinical Diagnostic Association.

“The Central government is keenly working on the laws and regulations of diagnostic centres. At present, we are heading the task of restraining the illegally registered centres across the State and also taking certain measures to stop fake registrations,” Dr. N Subbarao, DME.

“We asked the Medall Healthcare Pvt Ltd, which looks after the diagnostic services in the State, to get accredited with the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories,” he added.


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