Bahrain clamp on private clinic practices
Manama, January 16, 2012
Bahrain has launched a crackdown on physiotherapists and private clinics, with the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) issuing a notice stating only registered medical practitioners are allowed to order a patient to get an X-ray.
"We have noticed physiotherapists are not only issuing X-ray notes to individuals, private establishments are also honouring those notes," said NHRA chief executive officer Dr Baha Eldin Fateha.
"There have been scores of cases of such a practice going on and this is against the law," he said. "Patients requiring physiotherapy are asked to get X-rays taken and return. They go to private clinics and get X-rays done. These X-rays are then referred to physiotherapists to begin treatment. This is not allowed."
Dr Fateha said patients were not only putting their health at risk, but physiotherapists were also over-stepping their authority.
"If a physiotherapist needs, the patient can be asked to go to a doctor and get an X-ray recommended. He cannot do it himself."
Dr Fateha said a physiotherapist was not qualified to read an X-ray and could make potentially dangerous errors.
"They should do only what they are licensed to," he said, adding private clinics should only carry out X-rays requested by registered doctors.
Dr Fateha said a strict process of checks will soon be launched to stamp out the practice. "Action would be taken against violators," he warned.
The notice states all private clinics must maintain a log containing patient information, diagnosis and treatment, as well as any other data the ministry may require.
Meanwhile, Dr Fateha said an NHRA clampdown on excessive amounts of narcotics being prescribed to patients was being fully implemented.
The order, issued in October, required physicians to cut back on the amount of drugs being prescribed, based on concerns about an "unbelievable increase" in consumption that bordered on drug abuse.
Doctors were accused of breaking the law by issuing excessive levels of narcotics without properly assessing patients.
Hundreds of people, particularly those with sickle cell disease, were reportedly being given prescriptions from private medical practitioners to obtain drugs such as morphine and tramal.
"We have been checking regularly and have been monitoring the situation," said Dr Fateha. "Those who are still found to prescribe excessive amounts of medication face having their licences revoked and their practices shut."
Dr Fateha previously said there had been cases in which as many as 90 tablets were handed out in a single prescription.
He said repeated prescription and use of these medications could lead to serious consequences on its users, notably addiction to narcotics. – TradeArabia News Service