Mumbai: Private Doctors scared to prescribe tests even to COVID 19 suspected people
Mumbai - After BMC has issued a show-cause notice for the 6 doctors belonging from the suburban area and 1 from South Mumbai for not conducting a proper physical examination on the patients before prescribing them the test, private doctors are now scared to prescribe test for COVID-19 suspected people.
According to the current guidelines of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), public or private both doctors have the permission to prescribe COVID-19 test but apparently there are conditions which lacks clarity regarding the treatment of asymptomatic patients. Hence, accessing private consultation has become difficult for people. According to the Indian Medical Association, at least 20 doctors have received notices from BMC for prescribing Covid-19 tests. Most doctors are from L-ward (Kurla). Most of the doctors who previously received the notice were from N ward that covers the areas of Gorakhpur and Vidyavihar.
BMC has observed that these doctors prescribed tests for asymptomatic patients and have been asked "why your licence should not be cancelled" for violating Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines. The notices were later withdrawn after IMA reached out to the government.
Earlier, Medical Dialogues had reported about the notice issued by BMC directing not just cancellation of license but also criminal proceedings against such medical practitioners who recommend COVID-19 testing to patients, without examining them.
The criminal proceedings are going to come under the Epidemic Act of 1897 as well as Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code dealing with "Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, whereby disobeying the law may led to an imprisonment of one month and a fine of 200 and if the disobedience causes danger to human life, the imprisonment may extend to six months and or fine of thousand rupees or both.
Recently, commenting on the BMC's decision, the assistant commissioner of N-ward, AjitKumar Ambi assured that their intention was not to create hazards for the doctors; instead, they wanted to make sure that the doctors and other Healthcare workers are following the guidelines provided to them. He told TOI, "we are short of testing resources, beds, doctors and nurses. Why should there be unnecessary testing?"
However, medical community was enraged and stated that this action of BMC only portrays that they have no faith on the competence of the doctors. Moreover, they stated that BMC is not considering the adverse condition of the patients who will suffer an ill fate because private consultants fear the repercussions.
The IMA is creating a new form for prescribing test for Covid-19, stating earlier forms were confusing. Keeping in view of the situation, several private doctors have decided not to prescribe tests for patients, adds The Indian Express
Many doctors also indicated and raised question about the process of the tests of COVID-19 in government hospitals. They highlighted at the long process which the patient has to undergo- they have to take an online appointment and by the time they get an appointment or get the result their condition would already decline.
One Physician also explained the necessity of allowing private hospitals to conduct test stating one of the instances of his patient "I wrote SRL's name in the form, but SRL online appointment had waiting period. The patient went to Metropolis but they refused to test since the lab's name was different. All this adds to testing delay".
Moreover, the Indian Medical Association showed support to the doctors and stated that they are doing far fewer tests than necessary to curb the epidemic. Besides telemedicine is acceptable now. It was stated that the allegations against the senior doctors raised by BMC had no subsequent ground and all the prescribed tests are done only after seeing and examining the patient's properly.