Medical Council Urged To Re-Examine Its Role

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The members of Barbados’ Medical Council pose with Minister of Health, Donville Inniss ( fourth left). Pictured from left are Professor E. R. Walrond; Chief Medical Officer (ag.), Dr. Kenneth George; Dr. Stephen Moe; Dr. Opal Gibson; Deputy Chairman, Dr. Michele Lashley; Dr. Tracy Archer and Dr. Sean Bernstein. Missing are council members Mr. Winston Crookendale, Dr. Philip Gaskin and Dr. Curtis Alleyne.

This country’s Health Minister is proposing a wider role for the local Medical Council, that includes advising his Ministry on how to provide better oversight of the medical profession.

Minister Donville Inniss met recently with members of the Medical Council and recommended that the body identify, among other things, challenges confronting it and the best way forward to address grievances against the medical profession. He said:?? ???It is important that we seek to raise the bar to go beyond seemingly mere registration of doctors."

While also underscoring the importance of the Council’s role in the public domain, the Health Minister gave the assurance that his Ministry would "undertake to strengthen all Councils under its remit through the provision of an adequate secretariat".

Currently, there are five such Councils operating under the ambit of the Health Ministry and serviced by staff of the Ministry. They are the Medical Council, the Paramedical Council, the General Nursing Council, the Dental Council and the Pharmaceutical Council.

The Medical Council is a body corporate which was established on November 1, 1972, in accordance with Section Three of the Medical Registration Act, Cap 371.??This Act authorises the Medical Council to register suitably qualified persons as medical practitioners.

It also makes provision for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against any medical practitioner who is guilty of an offence under Section 12 (1) of the Act. For this purpose, there is provision made under the Medical Registration Regulations, 1972, for the establishment of a Disciplinary Committee, as well as a Complaints Committee, comprising members of the Medical Council to deal with complaints against any medical practitioner.

A new Medical registration Bill is to go before Parliament shortly. Among the new features will be a provision for the registration of specialists within the medical profession.??

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