Berbice association urges resuscitation of medical council
Guyana Chronicle
February 7, 2002

THE Berbice Medical Association (BMA) is urging all physicians countrywide to be involved in nominating candidates for the resuscitation of the Guyana Medical Council.

Vice President of the BMA, Senior Consultant, Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Dr Narinedat Sooknaanan said the call follows a recent meeting held by the association to discuss its nomination for the medical council election, to be held no later than March 24.

"We are dissatisfied with the impasse resulting in the absence of a medical council and the way the profession is being ridiculed because of the lack of a council.

"Therefore we are urging doctors to be involved in the nomination process and to nominate eligible doctors to this council so that we can move progressively forward," Sooknaanan told the Government Information Agency (GINA).

He said the BMA has nominated General Practitioner, Dr. Gewan Balram, who runs a private practice, as its candidate for the election.

According to him, the Health Ministry can select a maximum of six names from the nominations received to be appointed to the Guyana Medical Council which will have nine members.

Of the remaining three members, two will be non-medical persons and the other the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

The regulation to govern the medical council elections is now legal after being gazetted on January 25 last, GINA said.

These regulations were provided for in the amendment to the Medical Practitioners Act of 1991, which was passed in Parliament on November 29, and empowers the Health Minister to make regulations to govern the elections process.

Elections must be held not later than 60 days after the regulation is published in the Official Gazette. The process is now at Stage Two, with registered practitioners being nominated, the agency said.

Registered physicians (practitioners with five years experience as recognised by the Amendment) have 10 days, or until February 10, to submit nominations to the Ministry of Health, and elections must be held not more than 15 days after the final date set for the nominees to indicate their acceptance.

The Guyana Medical Council is the authorised institution for registering medical practitioners when they request to practise medicine locally and for renewing licences for those already practising.

It serves as the watchdog of the profession and can recommend to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that criminal charges on a doctor be instituted should the need arise.

In addition to having the power to establish standards on what constitutes appropriate medical practice, the medical council will address grievances of the public as these relate to the medical profession and the credibility of practitioners, GINA said.

The new council will be tasked with preparing rules to govern the practice of medicine in Guyana, it said.