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Ministry asked to rethink rules for diagnostic jobs

DNMUM385283 | 3/21/2017 | Author : Neetu Chandra Sharma | WC :463

Medical MSc post-grads uneasy as only doctors allowed employment in all medical roles
New Delhi: After the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules made it mandatory for diagnostic laboratories to employ only doctors for all medical roles, Medical MSc postgraduates were fearful of either losing their jobs or being demoted to the role of laboratory technicians.
The National MSc Medical Teachers’ Association (NMMTA) has therefore written to the Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda asking him to reconsider the rules.
“We have requested the Health Ministry that the National Council for Clinical Establishment consider modifying its guidelines to accommodate Medical MSc degree (irrespective of PhD) as a qualification to interpret and sign diagnostic test reports in Microbiology and Biochemistry,” Dr Sridhar Rao, NMMTA president said.
While many corporate hospitals and private diagnostic laboratories in the country have Medical MSc postgraduates interpreting and signing laboratory test reports, the rules make it compulsory for all diagnostic laboratories to have doctors who are registered with Medical Council of India (MCI) or State Medical Council. The rules have already been implemented in Rajasthan and Jharkhand, causing unrest across the country.
“As Medical MSc is included in the first schedule of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, the Health Ministry is implored that medical MSc degree holders be registered in the central or state medical councils. Laboratory testing services are not part of the medical practice, so the health ministry must not restrict the role of interpretation and signing of laboratory reports to doctors only,” Rao said.
Medical MSc degree is awarded in the subjects of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology or Microbiology.
“Students also learn about the physiological functions of the body, the disease process, and the various parameters in health and disease, which enable them to interpret the diagnostic tests. Students are also trained in all aspects of clinical diagnostics, including specimen collection and processing,” Dr Rao said.
NMMTA has asserted and claimed that MCI in 2005 had clarified that MSc (Medical Biochemistry) with or without PhD is entitled to independently sign a medical Biochemistry report in a clinical laboratory, and National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories has recognised MSc degree holders as signatories for laboratory reports.
The Union government enacted The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, to register and regulate all clinical establishments. Subsequently, the National Council for Clinical Establishments was set up and The Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules were notified in 2012. While 10 states and 6 union territories, except Delhi, adopted the rules, they have been implemented only in Rajasthan and Jharkhand so far.
“If and when these guidelines get adopted and enforced in all states, hundreds of qualified microbiologists and biochemists with medical MSc degrees would either lose their jobs or be kept away from diagnostic laboratories because of demotion,” Arjun Maitra, Secretary, NMMTA, said.

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