New Delhi: With the Supreme Court judgment clearly enunciating who can sign lab reports based on the recommendations of the MCI , the Association of Healthcare Providers (India) have now written to the Union Health Ministry, informing that the said decision is going to create an artificial shortage of signatories of lab reports with only a meagre number of qualified pathologists being available to sign the huge number of laboratory reports in the country.
The association was also seen stating that the decision may have an adverse effect in terms to encouraging the practice of signature lending, whereby pathologists would begin lending electronic signatures from one central office to hundreds of test reports and hamper the quality of laboratory reports.
Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported that resting the case on the issue of who can sign laboratory reports, a recent supreme court judgment had clearly stated that a Laboratory Report can be countersigned only by a registered medical practitioner with a postgraduate qualification in pathology.
The move has now met with concern from the medical body, which has stated that this would lead to an “artificial” shortage of competent people, who would be allowed the sign laboratory reports. AHPI also pointed out that as of now, the country does not have enough MD Pathologists to deal with the work load alone
“The judgment will have serious repercussion for the healthcare fraternity since we have only around 5500 MD Pathology in the country. We have around 9500 professionals with MD Microbiology and MD Biochemistry qualification. Postgraduate degree holders in Microbiology and Biochemistry are around 20000. Add to this number we have about 1500 Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Microbiology, Genetics and Molecular biology. All put together we have 36,500 qualified personnel, who have been till now the authorized signatories for various medical test reports. By virtue of the SC order, we will be left with only 5500 persons, who would be authorized to sign the report,” said Dr Girdhar Gyani, Director General of Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI)
The Association stated that the decision is going to lead to a huge shortage of signatories for lab reports, and may also have some disastrous consequences via signature lending.
“Considering that there are about 3 lakhs of medical testing laboratories in India, it will be humanly impossible for 5500 MD Pathology persons to handle the workload. These professionals will be pushed to become visiting signatory authorities covering many cities. Pathologists may begin lending electronic signatures from one central office to hundreds of test reports. All this will hamper the authenticity of test reports, which are the sole basis for physicians to prescribe treatment. 5500 MD Pathology will hardly be enough even for major tier-I/II cities. This will adversely affect the availability of signatories in smaller towns; rural areas would be worst sufferers,” Dr Gyani informed