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Gujarat govt relaxes rules over coronavirus testing

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Tests can be conducted by either government or private laboratories on the basis of prescription of a private doctor without prior permission of a health officer

The Gujarat government scrapped the rule making it mandatory for private doctors or hospitals to seek permission for prescribing coronavirus tests for any patient being treated by them.

The government revised the rules after the Gujarat High Court termed the earlier policy as ‘disturbing’ as it led to delays which could prove fatal.

Now, for a certain category of patients as recommended by a state government panel, tests can be conducted by either government or private laboratories on the basis of prescription of a private doctor without prior permission of a health officer.

Private doctors will only have to inform the laboratory and the Chief District Health Officer (CDHO) through email and upload the details of the patient on a government-approved mobile application in such cases, said a health department notification.

If the patient shows symptoms of coronavirus, he or she should be admitted to the hospital and discharged only if the test result comes negative. If it is positive, the patient should be treated as per the COVID treatment guidelines, said the notification.

As per the recommendations of the committee, in certain cases, private doctors or hospitals would not need permission to prescribe coronavirus tests, such as cancer patients receiving chemo or radiotherapy and planned haemodialysis, or pregnant women admitted in hospitals in containment areas for delivery.

Symptomatic patients and symptomatic healthcare workers too can be tested on the recommendation of doctors.

Preoperative testing for patients undergoing surgery can be done at the discretion of the treating consultant, and emergency and lifesaving procedures can be carried out without waiting for COVID19 test.

If a coronavirus test is required for cases other than those covered by ICMR guidelines, private hospitals or doctors will require to seek the approval of the Medical Superintendent of Sola Civil Hospital for Ahmedabad or Chief District Health Officer (CDHO) of the concerned district panchayats and medical officer (MO) for municipal corporations, the notification said.

Even in these cases, the permission should be granted within 24 hours, it added.

Earlier, for coronavirus tests of any patient, private hospitals and doctors required permission of Medical Superintendent of GMRC Hospital Ahmedabad or respective CDHOs or MOs.

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