HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Doctors in Punjab can give court evidence through video link

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 20, 2014
First Published: 10:49 IST(20/5/2014) | Last Updated: 10:51 IST(20/5/2014)

From June 1, government doctors in Punjab will not have to travel long distances and remain away from duty to attend court hearings for submitting any medico-legal evidence. The state government and the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday decided that the doctors could submit evidence through video-conferencing.

Sources in the Punjab health department told HT that the decision was taken on Monday in a meeting held at the court; attended by principal secretary, health, Vini Mahajan.

Whenever doctors have to go and attend hearings, as the outpatient department (OPD) services remained closed in such a situation. The most common hassle is doctors having to travel to district court complexes to submit evidence, which are often located at the district headquarters.

The worst sufferers of this are community and primary health centres. On an average, a doctor posted at community health centre has to attend court hearings twice a month, and the number is even more for doctors posted at the civil-hospital level.

Evidences usually include producing various kinds of medical records for legal course of action.
So far, though, video-conferencing facility is available only at the civil hospitals.

The PCMS (Punjab Civil Medical Services) Doctors’ Association, Punjab, welcomed t he decision and appealed to the government to make video-conferencing available at community health centres too.

“It is at the community health centres that patients bear the brunt in the absence of doctors, as often no alter native is available,” said Dr Gagandeep Shergill, general secretary of the association.

On similar lines last year, doctors at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) were allowed to give court evidence through video-conferencing.

Meanwhile, in a se parate development, hospitals registered with Medlar Society in the state were authorised on Monday to register medico-legal reports.

According to a Punjab government press release, it has been made mandatory for all these hospitals, private and government, to use the designated software for registering the reports.

Punjab Medlar Society has been constituted for training, compliance and monitoring of implementation of the report software.

Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, health, said all medico-legal reports would be computerised as the state has implemented the software for all doctors working in government and private hospitals.

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