Changes Coming For Dental Profession

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From left: Minister of Health, Donville Inniss; Chairman of the Caribbean Dental Program, Dr.Victor Eastmond; President Elect of the Barbados Dental Association, Dr. Toni-Michelle Marshall and President of the Commonwealth Dental Association, Dr. Hilary Cooray, in discussion at the conference.
(A. Miller/BGIS)
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From left: Minister of Health, Donville Inniss; Chairman of the Caribbean Dental Program, Dr.Victor Eastmond; President Elect of the Barbados Dental Association, Dr. Toni-Michelle Marshall and President of the Commonwealth Dental Association, Dr. Hilary Cooray, in discussion at the conference. (A. Miller/BGIS)

The Ministry of Health will be addressing many of the challenges that currently exist in the dental industry.

This was made clear by Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the opening ceremony of a four-day Caribbean Dental Programme’s Conference at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa. It is being held in association with the Commonwealth Dental Association and has as its theme: "Education, Abuse, Neglect and The Oral Care Practitioner."

He said: "The Ministry of Health has in the past three years initiated major legislative reforms resulting in a new Nurses Act and a new Medical Registration Act.

Our focus is now being expended on the Dental Act and the Paramedical Act to bring them in line with modern age. This is necessary both for the practitioner and the patient."

The Health Minister noted that it was imperative for other members of the dental team to have a voice on any regulatory body which governed their affairs. Consequently, he said some of the proposed changes under consideration would

include a new dental council comprising not only members of the dental profession; but representatives of the dental technicians, hygienists and therapists bodies.

In addition, he further stated that those in the profession would be required to pursue continuing education as a prerequisite for registration and to have a certificate of mental and physical wellbeing for the continuation of their practice under special circumstances.

Concerning the issue of discipline within the profession, he promised that this would also be high on the agenda for review, noting: "Discipline within the profession is also of great importance. At the end of the day, a healthcare professional, like a politician, has little to survive on but his or her professional reputation.

"In Barbados and indeed the wider Caribbean, we pay too much lip service to discipline among certain professions hence creating in the public mind a perception of a high level of incestuous conduct where the old boys network rules," he said.

Although the issue of standards of service and the equipment used in dental facilities was not seen as problematic, the Health Minister indicated that they, too, would also be up for examination.

He told his audience that he expected some outcry from some quarters about these changes but he maintained that his ministry would do what was in the best interest of those in the majority and promised to engage the representative body for dental practitioners, including hygienists in all deliberations.

The conference will conclude on Friday.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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