HYDERABAD: Several diagnostic centres with X-ray and radiotherapy equipment, which can pose significant health hazards to patients and staff, lack an Atomic Energy Regulatory Board licence (AERB).
The AERB wrote to the health department about this in February, but there has been no response since. Meanwhile, the health department claims that clinics with only CT scan and MRI machines need an AERB licence, whereas X-ray and radiotherapy equipment do not.
According to RTI activist Robin Zaccheus, the AERB shut down 15 diagnostic centres in Hyderabad in 2015 because they were not following proper methodology and safety measures. "Since then, not much has happened. In Telangana, diagnostic centres are springing up left, right, and centre," Zaccheus said.
In February of this year, the AERB wrote to Telangana's health department, requesting that all users/owners of medical radiation facilities obtain a license/registration from the board. According to Zaccheus, the department has not responded to the communication. Given the importance, the government should have taken up such a critical and important issue concerning public health, he added.
"Today, anyone with good contact can obtain radiotherapy equipment. There is no way of knowing if they have been trained. It is a matter of life and it can cause serious complications. I am planning to file another RTI asking AERB if any diagnostic centres have registered with them," the activist said.
Though the AERB communication states that all users of medical radiation facilities must obtain a licence, a health department official stated that licences are not required for centres with X-rays and radiotherapy equipment. They are only required for centres that have CT scan and MRI equipment, and without the licence, the machines will not be delivered to the clinics, the official stated.
Diagnosing diagnostic centres
- AERB shut down 15 diagnostic centres in Hyderabad in 2015 for not following safety measures
- The board wrote to state health department, requesting that all users/owners of medical radiation facilities obtain a license/registration from the board
- Health department had failed to respond to AERB’s communication.
- Failure to maintain standards can impact patients, operators.