We are paying attention to concerns – Chief Medical Officer
Authorities have been paying attention to the recent complaints and other concerns raised in the press and social media about the conduct of doctors.
Yesterday, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, made it clear that there are recourses for patients and their families if they feel aggrieved.
In fact, he has been handling between three and five cases monthly, involving doctors, as part of the sanctions.
Dr. Persaud, as Chief Medical Officer for government, sits on the all-important Medical Council of Guyana, the body that licences doctors, and which has the authority to also take them off the register.
In recent months, the operations of the private hospitals and now doctors, a number of them very prominent, have come under the spotlight.
One particular case has raised questions about the impartiality of the Medical Council.
It involved the death of 74-year-old Edward Subryan, an Enterprise resident who died at Woodlands Hospital in February 2014.
The family blamed the doctors for negligence and complained to the Medical Council, which found that indeed, improper care led to Subryan’s death.
However, the decision to sanction one of the doctors, Dr. Surendra Persaud, was suspended after he went to court, challenging the impartiality. He said that the Chair of the Medical Council, Dr. Shobha Gobin was in a conflict of interest situation, as she was one of the doctors involved in the treatment of Subryan before he died.
The court ordered that the council’s recommendations for sanctions, under Dr. Gobin, be set aside.
The matter was left suspended since 2015, until late last year, when the Council said it managed to start hearing the matter again.
However, the family has been suspicious of the delays.
Yesterday, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud said that the Medical Council does not regulate health facilities, including private hospitals. Rather, this is regulated under the Private Hospitals Act.
With regards to complaints to the Medical Council, the Chief Medical Officer said that there are clear lines, which include the body seeking independent reviews for cases from specialist doctors, sometimes outside of Guyana.
This happened in that case of a number of children who died in public hospitals
A Caribbean expert outside of Guyana was engaged in reviewing the matters.
He said that in the cases where complaints are filed against doctors, a Disciplinary Committee is established where a judge is appointed by the Chief Justice to chair it.
Two “impartial members” of the council are also on that committee.
The doctor and the complainants are also invited to submit statements and may be invited to appear before the committee.
According to the Chief Medical Officer, it is a fact that the Medical Council doesn’t conduct its business in the public domain. He also said that the Medical Council is not the forum for suing. Rather, only the court can make those rulings.
Among other sanctions that doctors can face, is the taking away of their licences, suspensions and warnings.
However, the Medical Council can also serve in mediating on matters.
In recent times, there have been accusations that private hospitals are forcing patients to take unnecessary tests, and raking in millions of dollars from their unsuspecting and mostly ignorant patients.
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