Gov’t moves swiftly to institute Disciplinary Committee

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The first reading of the bill to amend the Medical Practitioners Act of 2009 to make way for the formation of a Disciplinary Committee to look into the actions of medical professionals, is likely to go before Parliament next Thursday.
This information appeared in this week’s Cabinet notes prepared by the government’s Chief of Staff Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, which also stated that Health Minister Molwyn Joseph has proposed the mandatory replacement of doctors on the committee by a retired judge, nurse or other professionals capable of “making sound judgements on the basis of experience and knowledge”.
The Medical Practitioners Act makes provision for the setting up of a Disciplinary Committee to investigate and punish any wrongdoings on the part of medical practitioners in the country. 
Although the bill was passed and became law, the committee was never put in place. Earlier this week Minister Joseph attributed this to lack of cooperation on the part of local doctors.
The government is moving to make the necessary adjustments to the law following a widely-circulated petition by the family of the late Esme Stevens who died on September 11. Stevens had a colonoscopy procedure at a private doctor on September 8 and three days later she died at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre. She had reportedly been complaining of pain but the private medical practitioner allegedly dismissed it as gas and bloating pain which would pass once she continued using the prescribed post-procedure medication which had a five-day course. Her family members have since launched the petition to get the disciplinary committee in place so that they could file their complaint.
Up to 5 p.m. yesterday 4,749 people signed the petition on change.org, the goal is 5,000 signatures. (Theresa Goodwin)

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