Nurse Practitioners Bill…
The need for a manual to guide the operation of the Nursing Council as it relates to the proposed Nurse Practitioners Bill is essential, according to Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy. The Minister was at the time commenting on the work being undertaken by the Nursing Council to formulate a manual in conjunction with the International Council of Nurses ahead of the passing of the Bill. It is anticipated that the Nurse Practitioners Bill will come into being by next year.
At the moment, nursing is governed by the Nursing Practitioners Ordinance of 1953. However, it was in 2003 that the Ministry of Health with support from the Nursing Council, the Nurses Association and the European Union, designed the draft Nurse Practitioners Bill, Minister Ramsammy disclosed. The current efforts by the Nursing Council are geared at looking closely at how the Council functions.
“One of the problems that face the Nursing Council, and the same is true for the Medical Council and the Dental Council, is that there are some difficulties in addressing certain issues such as disciplinary measures…so we are making provision to deal with these problems,” Minister Ramsammy disclosed.
He alluded to occasions when medical professionals were dismissed as part of disciplinary measures and instead of accepting the decision handed down, they seek the intervention of the courts.
“They would go to the court and the court would throw the case out because we had never developed procedures to follow…While the law is there to give you the right to do something, we have not developed the procedures, and people can go to court and it is said that you didn’t follow certain rules and practices.”
It is for this reason, the Minister said, that it is crucial to bring into being a manual which will ensure that due process is followed.
“We can’t just say somebody made a report and one person decides to do an investigation and makes a recommendation that we dismiss somebody and we act on that…These are the problems that we have but with the guidance of a manual there will be automatic investigation…”
Meting out disciplinary action has also been met with opposition from various organisations and individuals.
But with the introduction of a manual of procedures there will be no way that medical professionals can challenge the measures that are engaged, Minister Ramsammy asserted.
A draft of the much anticipated manual intended to help guide the operation of nurses locally, as it relates to the proposed Bill, has been completed and is likely to be submitted to Minister Ramsammy shortly. The drafted document was completed under the expert guidance of International Council of Nurses Chief Executive Officer, David Benton, who met and deliberated with members of the Guyana Nurses’ Council recently.
It is expected that the first draft which was perused by the Council will be revised and sent for further comment by the Council before it gains the attention of the Minister. Benton has immense expertise in drafting such manuals and has been recognised as an asset to the process. He was here in Guyana a few weeks ago at the invitation of the Pan American Health Organisation which has been working in collaboration with the Nursing Council.
The document in its completed form will help nurses to better understand the Nurse Practitioners Legislation proposed by the Minister. According to former Chief Nursing Officer, Grace Bond, the manual is important as it will serve as a guide for the Nursing Council and by extension nurses countrywide. The Council, she disclosed, has never had an operational manual with which to work, in the past. In essence, she noted that the manual will serve to outline the duties of nurses.
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