Increasing complaints of clinical negligence against some medical doctors worrying – Bawumia

Dr. Bawumia

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday said the Government is worried about the increasing numbers of complaints against some medical doctors over allegations of clinical negligence, poor professional attitude and conduct, inhumane and degrading treatment of patients.

He added that there had also been concerns about significant numbers of healthcare professionals who abused substances or work under the influence of substances including chronic alcoholism or suffer from the infirmities of the mind.

All these fears and concerns about some healthcare professionals, the Vice President noted, may call into question their fitness to practise and dispense quality healthcare services to the public.

Vice President Bawumia made the remarks at the opening of a three-day conference by the Medical and Dental Council, Ghana in Accra.

Dr Bawumia said the government was happy to note that the Council had identified those challenges and defining clear boundaries for the various categories of practitioners to know the limits to their practice in the interest of patients’ safety and well-being.

“We commend the Council for being proactive in these matters. And 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,” the Vice President stated.

The event was on the theme: “Medical and Dental Training: The Past, the Present and the Future,” which brought together key stakeholders in the health sector to brainstorm on ways of restructuring the curricula for training medical practitioners without compromising on the quality of the training.

It also provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss and reflect on challenges in the sector and proffer actionable solutions to creatively boost the local production of doctors and dentists at the general duty and specialist level to meet the needs of the public.

The Vice President said the Government had taken a keen interest in improving access to health care in Ghana, with the introduction of the agenda 111 project.

Under the policy, he said, the government was building 101 district hospitals, six regional hospitals and four psychiatric hospitals in Ghana to boost the provision of healthcare infrastructure and ease accessibility to healthcare.

“Government was also improving on the efficiency of the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that allowed the Scheme to expand the scope of its services to include childhood cancers thereby removing lack of money as a critical barrier to lifesaving healthcare services,” he added.

Dr Bawumia said the government, through the Ministry of Health in June 2020 approved a proposal to the World Bank 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 Bank, he said, approved $15.2 million for Ghana for that purpose and that the Pharmacy Council, the Allied Health Professions Council, and the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency would benefit from the amount.

The Vice President noted that the funding support would be the largest single investment in medical professional regulation.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, on his part, said the Cabinet had approved the draft bill of the Amendments to Part II of the Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013, Act 857) and would be laid before Parliament when it resumes sitting in October, this year.

That, he said, would enhance funding and lofty standards for medical training in the country.

He urged the stakeholders to free feel to express their ideas and share experiences towards improving healthcare delivery in Ghana.

Professor Paul Kwame Nyame, Chairman of the Council, in brief remarks, said the Council had made steady progress in doctor population, with 10,400 in the country now.

He said the current doctor to patient ratio stood at 1:3000 though it was below the World Health Organisation’s’ standard ratio of 1:1000.

Prof. Nyame expressed concern about the poaching of Ghanaian health professionals by some advanced nations due to the COVID-19 pandemic that devastated their health system and, thus, called for measures to boost local production of more health practitioners locally to augment the shortfall.

He suggested that the monies spent for medical training of Ghanaians abroad could be invested in new medical schools in Ghana to train more doctors domestically.

Source: GNA

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