Only MBBS doctors can sign lab reports now, directs MCI
Medical Council of India (MCI) Saturday said only MBBS degree holders registered with it and Medical Councils of different states were eligible to sign laboratory reports of patients while as the
professionals with Medical MSc, PhDs and Medical Lab Technicians are not authorized to do so.
The Medical Council of India recently communicated the decision of its Executive Committee to the Director, National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
The issue was raised by NABL asking MCI whether the MSc and PhD candidates, who are not registered with MCI or State Councils, were eligible to sign medical laboratory reports?
The NABL had written to the Council seeking its stand on the issues that “can persons hold MBBS degree registered with MCI/State Medical Council sign the medical test reports? Can PhD (Medical Microbiology, Medical Biochemistry, Life Sciences, Applied Biology, Cytogenetic and Biotechnology) in relevant discipline be allowed to sign medical test reports? If not, can the same be allowed if they are co-authorized with a person registered with MCI/State Medical Council?”
In reply to the NABL letter, the notification issued by the Deputy Secretary, Medical Council of India (MCI), Dr Parul Goel said that all lab reports should be signed or countersigned by persons registered with MCI or State Medical Council. This implies that only MBBS doctors would be allowed to sign lab reports while Medical MSc or PhD holder and medical lab technicians cannot.
The Council responding to the queries raised by NABL stated that the above matter was considered by the Ethics Committee at its several meetings and lastly on 6th and 7th February 2017. The decision of the Ethics Committee was placed before the Executive Committee for approval on 11.04.2017.
Following the order, two inferences can be clearly drawn that MBBS doctor can sign or countersign lab reports by virtue of his or her registration with the MCI/State Medical Councils and Medical MSc/ PhD and Technicians cannot sign lab reports as they are not registered with the MCI/state Medical councils.
This is seen as a landmark decision and paradigm shift in the policy which will curb the ill-practice in the field by quacks.
Till now thousands of laboratories across India were run independently by MSc, PhD holders in Medical Science and those MBBS doctors with three years of experience were also allowed to sign report as authorized signatories. With this latest decision, MBBS qualification is enough to practice laboratory medicine, but those having an MSc/PhD stand at a disadvantage.
Recently, Delhi High Court issued a similar order allowing MBBS doctors to practice ultrasound.