J’pura hospital docs in medical lab test racket?

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Physicians, including medical consultants at the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital, are alleged to be asking patients to purchase drugs and to undergo various diagnostic tests at a new well equipped private laboratory in close proximity to the hospital.

A leading private hospital chain opened the laboratory adjacent to the main gate of the hospital last week.

Some of the tests done at the private laboratory were very expensive, All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) Branch Secretary Chandana Jayalal alleged.

Jayalal accused the Jayawardenapura hospital administration of directing patients to visit the new private laboratory. The laboratory at the hospital experienced a shortage of chemical required for laboratory investigations. Instead of obtaining the chemicals, some Consultants were directing patients to the new laboratory.

When contacted, Jayawardenapura Hospital Director Dr. S. A. K. Gamage said that a few types of chemicals necessary for laboratory investigations had not been available a few months ago, but they were no long in short supply.

When asked whether doctors had been directing both in-patients and the clinic patients to carry their specimen to the particular laboratory for investigations, Dr. Gamage answered in the negative: "What really happened was that as the hospital laboratory had run short of essential chemicals, some consultants asked patients to get their tests done at private labs. Now, the problem is over.

I have already issued a memo to all doctors to refrain from issuing prescriptions to patients to get their tests done at private laboratories. I have also directed the Head Sister to instruct all the nurses not to refer any blood tests to private laboratories as the hospital laboratory is now functioning."

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