Only doctors registered with MCI or state council can sign lab reports: MCI | health | Hindustan Times
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Only doctors registered with MCI or state council can sign lab reports: MCI

To regulate the quality of diagnostic tests and assure precision diagnosis, India’s medical education regulator has issued a directive banning technicians and other under-qualified staff from signing lab reports.

health Updated: Jul 05, 2017 11:36 IST
Since the MCI has no authority to punish people running labs without doctors, the Union health ministry has to decide the quantum of punishment for people running labs staffed only with technicians
Since the MCI has no authority to punish people running labs without doctors, the Union health ministry has to decide the quantum of punishment for people running labs staffed only with technicians(SHutterstock)

To regulate the quality of diagnosis in labs, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has issued a directive that mandates all lab reports be signed by a qualified MBBS doctor registered with either the MCI or a state medical council.

The move is aimed at checking the quality of tests and ensuring accuracy of test reports . 

"All lab reports to be signed/counter signed by person's registered with MCI/state medical council," was decided at a recent MCI executive council meeting.

India’s National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratory (NABL) had sought clarification from the country's top medical education regulator on whether an MSc or a PhD in a science discipline such as microbiology or biochemistry could sign diagnostic reports.

In its written response, the MCI reiterated that the person signing the report should be a registered medical practitioner. 

Since there is always a possibility that a qualified doctor has not supervised tests at unregulated neighbourhood labs, many hospitals do not accept diagnostic reports from little-known labs.

"We prefer getting tests done at our diagnostic lab because of the assured quality. We can’t judge the infrastructure or qualification of the staff in other labs, especially in those in hole-in-the-wall places," said a doctor from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

"We even get an ECG or an echo repeated at the hospital because very often, the person conducting the test or preparing the report is a lab technician who is not qualified to assess the results," he said.

Following the MCI directive, the Union health ministry will take a call on the law. "Since the MCI has no authority to punish people running labs without doctors, the ministry has to decide the quantum of punishment for people running labs staffed only with technicians," said a former member from one of the state councils.

"We are considering the matter and may come out with a notification in the matter soon," said a senior official.