21 March 2012
By Payal Gwalani
Radiologists have moved the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court against the government's recent restrictions on them, including a ban on consulting at more than two places and hike in registration charges of ultrasound machines.
In January, the central advisory board that regulates provisions of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques (PCPNDT) Act had announced these restrictions, to the disapproval of radiologists. The board has restricted radiologists from visiting more than two places and increased the registration fees for ultrasound machines almost ten times. There have also been instances of doctors being arrested and their machines being sealed for some mistake in paper work, which the petitioners find appalling.
"The initial hearing has already taken place. Notices have been issued to the respondents, including secretary of ministry of health and family welfare of Maharashtra government, municipal commissioner of Nagpur and the health officer (medical) of Nagpur Municipal Corporation," said Dr Kajal Mitra, president of Vidarbha Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA). The radiologists claim these restrictions violate Articles 14 and 19(1)(G) of the Indian Constitution.
Different civic bodies also have different provisions under the same act, compounding confusion, said Dr Kishor Taori, past president of IRIA and professor and head of radio–diagnosis of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). "It is not logical to put sonologists under PCPNDT Act. In fact, 80% of the times radiology is used for diagnosis of diseases in critical care. Also, some of us are blackmailed by civic staffers," he said.
Dr Taori added that he had taken up the matter in a state–level meeting earlier this week. "The meeting discussed difficulties in implementation of the act with state health minister Suresh Shetty," he said.
State president of Indian Medical Association Dr Milind Naik said they suggested reduction of paper work for doctors and inclusion of In–Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) centres under the act.
"Many machines were sealed without notice because of faulty paperwork by doctors. Amendments in the act in 2003 said the civic authorities should inform Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) about the charges against a doctor while the case is admitted into court. Most civic bodies, however, refuse to do so," he said. The MMC can suspend the license of the suspect, which could act as a deterrent for others.
Dr Naik also said that IVF centres can help people in sex selection even before conception by choosing sperms with Y–chromosome. "There is no framework to deal with such offences," he said.