Diagnostic Centres In Barishal: Most run without licence
On July 22, a mobile court sentenced three employees of a diagnostic centre in Jordan Road area of Barishal city to six months' imprisonment. Not only the two owners and a physician were charged for preparing fake pathological reports in clear violation of health service guidelines, the centre did not also have proper documentation.
The mobile court sealed the diagnostic centre.
Three days later, in another mobile court drive in the city, executive magistrate Ziaur Rahman sentenced four people to three to six months in jail and sealed another diagnostic centre for similar offenses.These two stories far from being anomalies. Ziaur Rahman said, "We have received several complaints of diagnostic centres issuing fake reports and being run without licences. We will soon take action against them."
The issue of licences is being discussed widely after it became known recently that the DGHS signed an agreement with Regent Hospital while being fully aware that the hospital's licence had expired in 2014.
According to some experts, most diagnostic centres in the city operate like this -- without proper documentation and are riddled with irregularities.
Clinics and diagnostic centres need environmental clearance, employee details, city corporation clearance, tax certificates and other documents to get their licence renewed every year, said Aminul Hasan, director of hospitals and clinics at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Most of these facilities could not get their licence updated because they failed to provide those documents.
Dr Munshi Mubinul Haque, assistant medical officer of district Civil Surgeon's Office, said, "More than half of the diagnostic centres [in Barishal] do not have licences. They do not maintain any standard of diagnostic labs. Often, even the names of technicians and doctors are not correct. All they are doing is deceiving people."
Ensuring that these service centres meet the required standard in terms of practise, equipment and human resources is the responsibility of authorities that issue their licence, said experts.
Contacted, sources from the Divisional Health Office under the DGHS tried to sidetrack the issue. The office told this correspondent that they inspect all the diagnostic centres and ensure that they're in line with guidelines.
DGHS Barishal divisional Director Basudeb Kumar Das said, "Applications are submitted online. After reviewing them, we go in for an inspection once the DG office issues a letter in this regard. Licences are given after the inspection."
Asked how the two incidences could have taken place if the inspection is so rigorous, the official backtracked and said it's difficult to carry out the process perfectly as there's only two doctors assigned to work as inspectors.
This correspondent spoke to owners of several diagnostic centres. They said some of the facilities did not have licences but they are in the process of renewal.
"Some [owners of diagnostic centres] do not follow rules and regulations. We welcome the authorities' drive against them," Liaqat Hossain, member of the board of directors of Bell View Clinic and Diagnostic Centre, told this correspondent yesterday.
Experts emphasised that the authorities must not shrug off its responsibilities.
Asked, Basudeb Kumar Das said, "After hearing of irregularities at some diagnostic centres, we have formed a three-member committee. The next step will be taken on the basis of their recommendations."
According to the Divisional Health Office and Civil Surgeon's Office, there are 700 diagnostic centres in the division. Among them, 128 are in the district, of which 118 are in the city.