THE EDITOR: Public reassurance of protection from ‘sub-standard’ medical and dental practitioners emanates from licensing protocol that measures professionalism primarily through continuing medical/dental education of registered practitioners.
This falls under the remit of the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Council (SLMDC), with the NIC, media and police service all being utilized to denigrate health workers who don’t reach those chosen standards. It is therefore essential that regulatory processes devised by the SLMDC are tight and valid.
I recently came across communication from the Council making an amendment to how Dental practitioners obtain their credits.
This confirmed my suspicions of the rationality of this framework which demands credits from practitioners with no guidelines, preparation or even suggestion of how this can be carried out.
The regulation that Dental Practitioners can use medical credits to fulfil the SLMDC’s criteria when they are not medical doctors means that the process is not true to its mission.
I don’t feel reassured that a lecture on a broken ankle would improve a dentist’s or even a medical practitioner’s capabilities if it does not relate to their scope or work.
Furthermore it brings into question whether the Council has actually investigated how they could work with practitioners of all backgrounds, ages and abilities to support the progress of everyone, in the interest of the quality of health provision.
Would courses such as cake decorating and wood carving give a better indication of ability in such a technical specialty that requires high level dexterity?
It is time we discuss these ideas. It appears that the cart came before the horse when the Health Practitioners Bill was passed.
Without a Continuing Professional Development Committee/Group that is trained to assist not only in the determination of practitioners needs but also in the provision of associated support based on an individual’s experience, career pathway, academic environment as well as making available well-structured and appropriate courses, then the Council will continue to not operate in the interest of the Public as well as Health Practitioners.
My assumption is that the wrongs of the system are more apparent with smaller numbers of dentists, but are simply buried in the larger medical fraternity.
This means that amendments would have to be made to keep the dental profession alive, but leaves medical colleagues more likely to be victimized if they are outliers.
The lack of consideration for well-read and experienced practitioners who have kept this service upright for years means premature attrition, leaving us with what we have today.
Lesley St Rose,