Alleged nexus between doctors and private diagnostic centers raises concerns at SKIMS Soura

SRINAGAR — Patients seeking care at J&K’s premier health institution, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura are allegedly subjected to unnecessary diagnostic tests due to a nexus between doctors and private diagnostic centres.

Many people who visited SKIMS hospital told the Srinagar-based news gathering agency KDC that there’s a well-known secret deal between ‘some’ doctors and private testing centres outside the hospital.

“Even though SKIMS has all the equipment to do the tests, doctors tell patients to get them done at these outside places. The doctors even call the staff from these private testing centres to take the sample for different tests from patients inside the hospital,” they said.

“These outside testing centres also have people working undercover inside the hospital. When a patient gets a prescription for tests, these undercover people immediately find the patient and try to convince them to get tested at their centre as soon as possible,” an attendant with a patient narrated.

He said that these undercover agents, like some from Lal Path Lab, take test samples directly from them inside the hospital wards without their full understanding, and then share the results with the doctors directly, again, bypassing the patient’s knowledge.

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“This isn’t limited to Lal Path Lab, and other labs are also involved in similar arrangements with doctors,” they alleged.

“Then, the centres share the test results with the doctors directly, without telling the patients. Everyone involved seems to be ignoring this problem, and it’s costing patients a lot of extra money,” the patients added.

Insiders at SKIMS said that these testing centres pay doctors a share of the money patients pay for tests. “Some doctors expect this extra money too. The amount of extra money depends on the kind of test, but some doctors get a large portion of the test price,” they said.

“This is making some doctors skip talking to patients thoroughly and just order a bunch of tests right away. In the past, doctors listened to patients more before deciding on tests. Now, some doctors don’t seem to have the time or willingness to listen,” they added.

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The question is: Are these extra tests really helping patients, or are they just a way for doctors and testing centres to make more money? This dishonest system is unfair to patients and makes them worry without reason.

Medical Superintendent SKIMS said that they have issued a circular with clear instructions not to allow these people inside the hospital. “There is a clear circular that has been sent to the security officer, which I will check with him,” he said, adding, “We have standardized labs here at SKIMS. We only send tests outside that are not conducted here, but we do not allow anyone to take samples within the hospital.”

Currently without a director, SKIMS is under the additional charge of the Secretary of the Health and Medical Education Department of J&K. The institute is facing public allegations of a nexus.

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Kashmir Dot Com, also known as KDC, is a news agency based in Kashmir that gathers, writes and distributes news from around the country.

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