Question on proliferation of medical labs draws personal comments and retorts

by Saman Indrajith

The proliferation of private medical laboratories across the country indicated that people could not obtain proper services from the government medical labs, UNP Kurunegala District MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said in Parliament yesterday.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said the government medical laboratories were functioning and providing service to people properly and the MP Kariyawasam who got married recently could get to know of the actual situation himself within a couple of more months when he took his wife for urine tests.

MP Kariyawasam: "The Minister must be recalling his own experiences when he talks of going for urine tests after three months of getting married. I do not think that I would have the same need."

Responding to a question raised by MP Kariyawasam, Deputy Minister of Health Lalith Dissnayake said that there were 721 registered private medical laboratories in the county.

The Private Medical Institutions (Registration) Act No 21 of 2006 provided legal provisions for the registration of private medical laboratories with the Ministry of Health.

The Health Deputy Minister said the initial registration of labs as well as the renewals each year was based on the recommendations of relevant provincial Directors of Health Services. Guidelines for the maintenance of private medical laboratories had been published and necessary actions taken to register them accordingly.

Asked whether there were any institutions available for the public to file complaints against laboratories as regards irregularities, the Deputy Minister answered in the affirmative. Such complaints could be directed to the Unit for Public Complaints at the Health Ministry, Director, Private Medical Sector Development, Ministry of Health, Regulatory Commission for Private Health Services, Offices of the Provincial Directors of Health Services and offices of the Regional Directors of Health Services, he said.

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