Medical professionals are regulated

I thank you for the opportunity to correct some misperceptions in a letter recently printed in a local newspaper about the verification of doctors’ qualifications in Cayman.

These erroneous statements about the regulation of medical care in Cayman appeared, probably because of a lack of awareness, in Ms Mary Davis’ letter, which was published in the Monday, 6 August, issue of Cayman Net News.

Although it was gratifying to read Ms Davis’ positive and fully deserved comments like, ‘… there is excellent medical care here in Cayman, and some very qualified practitioners,’ I would like to comment, in order to avoid public misperceptions, on the following statements.

Statement 1: Cayman is a sophisticated, affluent country. Government and developers claim these multi-million dollar developments will attract wealthy retirees from abroad. Will they want to live somewhere where, unlike the US; there is no way to verify a doctor’s qualifications?

I assure you that the names of all doctors registered to practice in the Cayman Islands are published in the Cayman Islands Gazette, which is the official publication of the Cayman Islands Government.

Statement 2: Who is checking the credentials of these foreign physicians and practitioners to be sure they are who they claim? This has been an oversight for far too long, and poses a risk to both the public and the good doctors practicing here.

The credentials of all doctors, and indeed all health care professionals, who work in the Cayman Islands, are annually reviewed by the professional councils established under the Health Practice Commission. In order to receive their license for practice all health care professionals must meet stringent requirements, including continual education requirement.

To give further details about Cayman’s legal and organisational framework for securing high standards in health services, I remind the public that according to the Health Practice Law (2005 revision), the standards for all health professionals practicing in these Islands is set by the Health Practice Commission. The commission’s four professional councils regulate these standards.

The Medical and Dental Council licenses medical doctors, including psychiatrists, podiatrists, osteopaths, and dentists; and also dental hygienists, therapists, technicians, and dental surgical assistants. The Nursing and Midwifery Council licenses all nurses and midwives, while the Pharmacy Council is responsible for pharmacists. The fourth council, the Council for Professions Allied with Medicine, licenses all other health care professionals such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, optometrists, paramedics, and mental health counsellors.

These four councils are monitoring the qualifications of health care professionals in order to ensure that patients are receiving proper, professional health care by persons who are highly trained, certified, skilled and competent.

The public can obtain detailed information about specific requirements related to health care professionals’ qualifications and credentials from the HPC.

The HPC, and all four of its councils, have offices at the Sigma Building, 93 Hospital Road. The staff may be contacted at 949-2813, or by fax at 946-2845.

I assure the public that the quality of health services in the Cayman Islands is firmly regulated, and that there are institutions in place to monitor the level of skills and credentials of practicing medical professionals.

Anthony S. Eden – Minister for Health and Human Services

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