Clinics for blood tests ruling under review

Pending a resolution from government concerning which facilities can conduct blood tests for work permit applicants, it was agreed in the interim to allow all qualified doctors to perform the tests.  

A high-level meeting was scheduled late Thursday afternoon between government leaders and ranking members of the Cayman Islands Medical and Dental Society seeking to address what one local medical practitioner described as “a debacle” over who is allowed to conduct blood tests on work permit applicants.  

Members of the Cayman Islands Medical and Dental Society said Wednesday that they were neither consulted nor informed of the change in government policy following the Health Practice Commission’s decision. Members indicated that they learned about the change from the Caymanian Compass, which printed the government’s announcement about it.  

Attempts to obtain further comment from society members Thursday were unsuccessful.  

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said Thursday that she was awaiting a final decision on the issue from Premier Alden McLaughlin’s office.  

An earlier announcement from government indicated that, starting Tuesday, HIV/AIDS blood tests required for work permit purposes could only be obtained from seven medical labs, six in Grand Cayman and one in Cayman Brac.  

The seven labs are Cayman Islands Hospital, Faith Hospital, Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, Medlab, Cayman Health, Phoenix Laboratory and TrinCay Medical.  

The reason for the change appeared to be that some health clinics were using test kits rather than submitting the blood for a full lab analysis, according to Health Practice Commission deputy chairman Marc Lockhart.  

Dr. Lockhart said that wasn’t the case with all clinics, and that the commission’s decision was no reflection on the professionalism of the health clinics. Rather, he said the commission was keen to observe a professional standard in administering the tests to work permit holders.  

“There are certain labs that have not been licensed to provide certain types of tests on the island,” Dr. Lockhart said. “In terms of keeping the quality…it is best to keep that standard with the established labs on the islands.  

The Cayman Islands requires non-Caymanian workers to be tested for HIV/AIDS prior to obtaining a work permit in the islands.