Private Doctors can now prescribe Covid 19 tests as Centre widens net
The Central government is relying on a strategy to test, track and treat coronavirus patients across the country.Updated: Jul 02, 2020 18:42 IST
The Central government, in a decision to remove a major bottleneck for ramping up Covid 19 testing, has allowed all registered doctors to prescribe coronavirus testing while following the ICMR guidelines laid out in this respect. The move announced on Thursday is expected to bring in more people into the testing ambit while increasing the utilization of testing capacity and reducing the pressure on government doctors and institutions, who were earlier alone saddled with the responsibility to prescribe the tests.
“COVID-19 testing can now be done on the prescription of any registered practitioner, and not exclusively a Government doctor. The Centre has strongly advised States/UTs to take immediate steps to facilitate testing at the earliest by enabling all qualified medical practitioners, including private practitioners, to prescribe COVID test to any individual fulfilling the criteria for testing as per ICMR guideline,” the health ministry order released on Thursday afternoon stated.
The government has been following the three-pronged strategy of ‘Test-Track-Treat’ for early detection and containment of the coronavirus outbreak. The decision to allow even private medical practioners to recommend test is aimed to help in this direction. The government order also asks states and Union Territories to ensure full utilization of their Covid-19 testing capacity, especially, those in the private sector.
The government has also made it clear that private laboratories should be free to test any individual in accordance to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines and that states must not restrict an individual from getting tested, since early testing has been identified as one of the containment tools for saving lives.
In another measure to increase testing, the Central government has asked states to use Rapid Antigen tests in addition to RT-PCR, since it is quick, simple, safe and offers ease of conduct.
In other suggestions given to states for casting the testing net wider, the Central government has suggested testing campaigns by organizing testing camps and use of mobile testing vans etc.
“This shall effectively take Covid-19 tests to the people’s doorsteps in high incidence areas to collect samples of all symptomatic individuals as well as their contacts, and get those samples tested by using rapid antigen tests,” the health ministry release states.
The government also noted that Covid-19 testing in India was likely to soon cross one crore mark, which will be a significant achievement and take up country’s tests per million figures a notch higher.
As on date, 90,56,173 tests have been conducted with the assistance of 1,065 testing labs including 768 in the public sector and 297 in the private sector. The per day testing capacity has also grown to cover as many as 2,29,588 sample testing on Wednesday, according to the government data