Private medical labs see red over Clinical Establishment Act

Owners of private medical laboratories in the State are stepping up their opposition against the draft proposals to ensure minimum standards for laboratory services under the Kerala Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2018.

The move to classify labs into three levels and the insistence on appointment of highly qualified staff would render a large majority of the existing technicians jobless, says A. Gireesan, State treasurer, Medical Laboratory Owners’ Association.

The draft proposals published on the government website say the labs ‘are broadly classified into Level I, Level II and Level III,’ according to the available facilities, with the third one ‘being the highest category.’

Waiting area

All labs should have a proper waiting area and facilities for seating, drinking water, and toilet, and proper lighting. They should also have adequate space with designated areas for registration and sample collection, besides space for pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical tests. Level I lab should have an area of 500 sq ft, Level II 1,500 sq ft, and Level III 2,000 sq ft. Level I lab should have at least one technician with a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT), Level II a medical postgraduate doctor qualified in pathology, and Level III should have medical postgraduates along with either graduates or postgraduates in MLT as scientific officer.

Mr. Gireesan says almost 70% of private labs in the State function out of commercial complexes in single rooms spread across 200 sq ft to 300 sq ft. Most of the existing staff are not graduates or postgraduates in MLT either. “Also, appointing medical postgraduates will turn out to be a costly affair for a large majority of the labs. We will have to either hike the charges for tests or shut shop,” he says.

Members of the association observed ‘Private Lab Protection Day’ on November 5 to highlight their plight.

Qualification exams

The lab owners’ association leaders claim that the Ordinance presented in the Assembly during the tenure of P.K. Sreemathy as Health Minister for the formation of the paramedical council had a proposal to conduct qualification exams for existing lab technicians to make them eligible for the job. The Ordinance, however, lapsed as it could not be passed in the House, they added.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:16:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/private-medical-labs-see-red-over-clinical-act/article33052462.ece

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