Regulating charges for pathological tests

Sunday, 8 October 2017

It is a common practice for most doctors in the country to hand each patient a long list of diagnostic tests on his/her first visit to the doctor. In most cases, if, say, eight tests are performed, results of seven of them are found normal. After looking at the results, the doctors conclude the patient is okay. Naturally, most patients feel that all these tests were unnecessary. Worse still, there are allegations that many doctors get hefty commissions for referring their patients to diagnostic laboratories for different tests. Indeed, there are some doctors who are not involved in such malpractices but they are a microscopic minority. The Bangladesh Medical Council needs to look into such allegations.

A couple of decades ago the government fixed the charges for diagnostic tests at laboratories. The charges should be updated and enforced strictly, otherwise patients will continue to suffer. The present diagnostic charges of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) may be considered a standard and charges so fixed by the authorities should be well publicised in print and electronic media. Any deviation from the fixed charges should be dealt with strongly. Such an arrangement would certainly help patients get health services at affordable costs. The health ministry needs to take necessary steps to fix the charges for different diagnostic tests and impose financial penalties for any violation in this regard.

Md. Ashraf Hossain

120, Central Bashabo, Dhaka-1214.