Punjab’s sonologists (doctors who do ultrasound scan on pregnant women, besides patients) are in disagreement with the state government a day after the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, gave them June 30 deadline to register for a competency test.
Describing the test notification arbitrary, the Punjab’s sonologist association on Wednesday decided to challenge it in the Punjab and Haryana high court next week.
The Pre-conception and Prenatal Diagnostics Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, allows any MBBS-degree-holder to become sonologist without the basic qualification of MD in radiodiagnosis and gynaecology or additional training. The new PCPNDT rules in 2014, however, prescribed six-month compulsory training. Problem arose when the sonologists who did not have basic qualification were asked to clear the competency test before December 31, 2016, to be able to run their centres from 2017.
In case they fail, they will have to undergo six-month training after being selected through postgraduate (PG) entrance test. With the deadline just six months away, the state government on Monday began the signing up process, which has got 900 sonoligists, most of whom run private diagnostic laboratories in the state, worked up.
Punjab sonoloigst association president Dr GS Gill said forcing the test on experienced doctors who had trained many radiologists was unacceptable, especially when their petition challenging the central rules was in the high court and to be heard next month. “The sudden notification has forced us to file a separate petition challenging it next week,” he said.
Another member of the association, Dr HS Mann said Delhi, Karnataka, and Himachal Pradesh had scrapped the competency test at the intervention of respective high courts.
Punjab principal secretary for health Vini Mahajan, however, said the test was based on a nationwide consensus to give the country proficient sonologists. “Moreover, it is only for those without basic qualification in radiology or gynaecology,” she said, “If they have long experience, one assumes they’d be confident about the test.”
“If the Punjab and Haryana high court or the Supreme Court scrap the test, we will comply,” she added.