Health care professionals reject new licensing bill
January 11, 2007
Health care professionals representing a broad spectrum of the medical field have rejected the new controversial Health Facilities Licensing Bill that is scheduled for a second reading in Parliament today.
At a meeting last evening at the St Joseph Mercy Hospital they dubbed the bill "poor legislation" and called for its immediate withdrawal as well as for meaningful consultations before any proposed legislation is made in the future.
The body of health care professionals included representatives of private hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, physiotherapists, nurses, radiologists, optometrists and lab personnel among others.
The Health Facilities Licensing Bill of 2006 was tabled in the National Assembly on December 21, last year, and it is to apply to health facilities as well as health services, places or persons.
According to the bill, no health facility would be operated unless it is licensed by the Minister of Health. As a result, no person would be able to use the term "hospital", "health clinic", "health centre" or "health post" in the title of a place unless licensed under the law.
Yesterday Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy issued a statement saying that the bill is not seeking to regulate practices within the offices of private doctors. He emphasised that the bill is intended to strengthen regulation of public and private hospitals, laboratories, dialysis centres, imaging centres (MRI and CT Scan), surgical clinics and cancer treatment centres that provide radiotherapy. (Iana Seales)