Medical council seeking overhaul of sector’s legislation and regulations – – seen as currently defective and toothless

The Medical Council of Guyana (MCG) is seeking an overhaul of the sector’s legislation and regulations which it views as currently being defective and toothless.

The Ministry of Legal Affairs in a release on Thursday stated that a delegation led by Chairman of the MCG, Dr Navindranauth Rambaran; Legal Advisor, attorney-at-Law Kamal Ramkarran; and Secretary, Juanita Johnson; met that day with Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall along with the Senior Drafting Consultant in the Attorney General’s Chambers, Ananda Dhurjon, to discuss the overhaul of the Medical Practitioners Act 1991 and the Code of Conduct and Standards of Practice Regulations 2008.

According to the MCG, the Legislation and Regulations are “defective in many respects” and makes it very difficult for the Council to take disciplinary action against medical practitioners who may be guilty of professional misconduct and/or malpractice. It was also emphasised that there are major inconsistencies between the Act and the Regulations, which may have made the Regulations ultra vires. In the Council’s view, the Act is now some thirty years old and has become outdated.     

The Attorney General thanked the delegation for the initiative shown and said he was aware of the deficiencies identified. He also recounted his experiences a lawyer in private practice when he had lodged many complaints with the Council for and on behalf of victims of alleged medical malpractice, but these were never investigated because of these same deficiencies.

He also spoke of filing several claims in the Courts over the past six years for medical negligence and pointed out the many reports in the media alleging medical negligence, resulting in the loss of life, without anyone being held responsible or culpable.

Nandlall assured the delegation that the government is committed to the modernisation of the entire legal legislative infrastructure, including the health sector and is ready to collaborate with every stakeholder organisation in this important endeavour.

The Medical Council of Guyana and the Drafting Department of the Ministry of Legal Affairs are to collaborate on establishing a draft Bill, which will be circulated for consultation with all stakeholders, the release added.