‘Gov’t Worried Over Clinical Negligence Among Doctors‘

Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has expressed worry about the increasing number of complaints of allegations of clinical negligence, poor professional attitude and conduct, inhumane and degrading treatment of patients, and some practitioners who provide services outside their areas of competency.

He said the government, therefore, is relieved that the Medical and Dental Council is defining clear boundaries so that the various categories of practitioners know the limits to their practice in the interest of patient safety and well-being.

“ We commend the Council for being proactive in these matters as I understand some Policy Documents on Specialist Register; Practitioners Stamp, Name Tag and Appropriate Professional Apparel, as well as Scope of Practice for Physicians assistants, were recently launched to address some of these issues of concern.”

He made this known at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Medical And Dental Council in Accra.

The theme for the celebration was, “ reflecting on 50 years of medical and regulation,’ seeking to examine the possibility of reforming and restructuring the training curricula and bringing them in line with current trends taking on board the competencies required of today’s doctors and dentists.

It will also explore ways to leverage technology and strategic partnerships to expand training, enhance service delivery and promote health-related research.

The Vice President said there are concerns about significant numbers of health care professionals who abuse substances or work under the influence of substances including chronic alcoholism or suffer from infirmities of the mind.

“All of these things may call into question their fitness to practice. Yet the experience from the Medical and Dental Council, Ghana, shows that the majority of these professionals had challenges during their undergraduate training and that early identification of impairment and interventions are associated with better outcomes.”

Adding that, “I believe that the conference will suggest solutions for effectively managing such practitioners not only within the health professions but the entire public sector where similar concerns exist.”

He revealed that the government has taken a keen interest in improving access to health care in Ghana, and geographical access with the introduction of Agenda 111 project under President Akufo Addo, in building 101 district hospitals, six regional hospitals, four psychiatric hospitals in Ghana to boost the provision of healthcare infrastructure and ease accessibility to healthcare services.

Adding, he maintained that the government is improving the efficiency of the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme to allow it to expand the scope of its services to include childhood cancers, investigation in health care regulation to enhance both professional regulations through quality assurances system development and institutional accountability, human resource for health development, make post- graduate training free, and provide an enabling environment for private participation in medical and dental training and practice.

“Government through the Ministry of Health in June 2020 approved a Proposal to the World Bank (Ghana Office) for Regulatory Health System Strengthening Support for Quality Assurance of Health Care through Funding Selected Priority Policy Activities of the Medical and Dental Council, Ghana (Lead Implementer), the Pharmacy Council, the Allied Health Professions Council, and the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency to the tune of USD 15, 267, 464. 28.

This funding support seeks among others to assist Council to build the first-ever National Clinical Skills Examination Centre of Excellence to address quality of training issues as well as help build a new Head Office Complex with accommodation facilities for principal members of staff of the Council.

Additionally, he added that Cabinet also approved the suggested Amendments to Part II of the Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013 (Act 857) about a year ago and the Minister for Health is liaising with the Attorney-General’s Department to ensure the Draft Bill is laid before Parliament at its next sitting from October 2022.”

In an address by Dr. Divine Ndonbi Banyubala Registrar of the Council said from a humble beginning of regulating one local medical school and a handful of foreign-trained doctors and dentists, the Council now regulates training in seven medical schools including two private schools, two dental schools, and some 13 physician assistant training schools.

He said the Council now has responsibility for the pre-registration training of both house officers and physician assistant interns and as such accredits all training institutions as well as hospitals for training house officers and physician assistant interns.

By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey