Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC) has issued a notification reminding all the registered medical and health professionals providing diagnostic services and proprietors of the private diagnostic centres to only provide diagnostic services.

BMHC’s registrar general, Sonam Dorji, said that the notification was issued after the council observed that some private diagnostic centres in Thimphu and Phuentsholing were found doing more than what they were mandated to.

Some centres, he said, were going beyond the scope of diagnostic services and prescribing medicines, which is not allowed. “There is a conflict of interest.”

As per the circular issued by the health ministry, private diagnostic centres were not allowed to function as a medical clinic. Health policies do not allow private practice except for diagnostic centres.

It states that the diagnostic centres should only provide diagnostic services such as laboratory test, radiology and imaging, and endoscopy services. “There should not be any prescription for medicines or laboratory tests or any other medical procedures by any other person than medical professionals employed in government health facilities.”

The council asked all the diagnostic centres to strictly comply with the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) approved by the health ministry and as per the clauses in the memorandum of understanding and scope of activities.

Sonam Dorji said that when the private diagnostic centres register with the health ministry, they were given a list of things that they could not do.

For now, Sonam Dorji said that the council only notified them.

“Non-compliance to the notification shall be liable for the closure of the centres and suspension of the operation trade licence,” the notification states. “If we find that they are still providing the services which they are not allowed to then we would write to the ministry of economic affairs with the evidence and ask the ministry to cancel their license.”

Dechen Tshomo