07 November 2011
By Malathy Iyer
If a doctor in Thane and Navi Mumbai can upload a form on to the state government website, why cannot doctors barely 40 km away in Mumbai do the same?
This is the question doctors performing ultrasound scans are asking after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has told them to upload the all–important Form F of the PCPNDT Act on to a private website instead of the government one.
The BMC has for a week been training doctors across Mumbai on how to upload the form. “We have 1,700 ultrasound clinics in the BMC’s jurisdiction. We are training doctors in a ward–wise manner and hope get the online filing system running within a month,’’ said Dr Asha Advani, who heads BMC’s PCPNDT cell.
The PCPNDT Act (Pre–Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Amendment) Act 2003 was introduced to prevent unscrupulous use of ultrasonography scans to determine the sex of the unborn child. Form F is considered an important tool of the Act because it has every scan’s details.
But filing of Form F has always been a vexed issue. Doctors either didn’t file them or did so improperly. A government crackdown in July resultedin hundredsof sonography machines being sealed. Now, the state government wants doctors to upload Form F on to its website.
“We feel the BMC is favouring a private website. If doctors barely 50 km away can use the government website, why can’t we do the same?’’ asked a doctor who attendedoneof the training sessions in BMC’s Parel office last week.
TOI spoke to Thane civil surgeon Dr R B Kulkarni, who confirmed that his office had conducted two training sessions for doctors of 182 clinics in his jurisdiction. “It’s as yet not mandatory for them to upload the form, but many doctors have started doing so in the state government website,’’ Dr Kulkarni said.
Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s executive health officer Dr Deepak Paropkari, too, said that doctors in his area too were uploading theformtothe government website.
BMC’s Dr Advani said that the state government website was still not fully functional. “We have got a free facility to upload on to a private site. We will move to the government website as soon as possible,’’ she said.
However, the radiologists’s association believes the BMC move is a precursor to fixing the “silent observer” software costing Rs 30,000 in each sonography machine.
“The website that Mumbai doctors are being trained for belongs to the same company that owns the “silent observer” software,’’ said Dr Jignesh Thakker of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA).
The IRIA felt the “silent observer” harms the patient’s privacy and had dragged the issue to court after the Kolhapur collector madeit mandatory for all sonography machines to have the software. TheHCturneddown theIRIA’s plea but the association has now moved the SC.