The Supreme Court on Friday asked the lawyer representing the Maharashtra government before it to advise the state to issue an appropriate order permitting handing over of Covid-19 test reports directly to the patients or their family members.
The directive comes in the backdrop of the BMC on June 13 issuing a circular barring private laboratories from sharing test results with Covid-19 patients.
A bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S K Kaul and Justice M R Shah, which was hearing a suo motu plea pertaining to several issues related to the treatment of Covid-19 patients and management of bodies, said that it had no doubt that the states and all concerned authorities shall supply a copy of the report to the patient or his or her relatives and the hospital.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union government, conceded that when a patient tests positive, the report shall be handed over to the patient or his or her relatives.
After Maharashtra government lawyer Sachin Patil said that he would take instructions regarding this, the SC directed the lawyer to advise the state to issue an appropriate order permitting handing of test reports to patients or their relatives and the hospital.
According to BMC’s June 13 order, private labs should first share the report of a positive patient with BMC and only if a patient tests negative, can the report be shared directly with him or her. Even the results of the tests conducted in hospitals by private labs will have to be shared with BMC first, the circular had added.
Earlier, based on ICMR guidelines, private labs were asked to share results with patients within 24 hours of the test being conducted.
According to BMC officials, the change was introduced to ensure better bed management and treatment. “Asymptomatic positive patients get direct access to test reports from private laboratories… they rush to hospitals, pay money and occupy beds. The hospital too is happy as these patients are as good as those who need to be kept in quarantine, and require no treatment. The hospitals happily earn money, thereby clearly violating ICMR guidelines of not allotting beds to such patients,” BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Friday.
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