Mandatory registration for health professionals soon


PHILIPSBURG– Medical professionals who wish to operate legally in St. Maarten will soon be required to register or be enlisted (for alternative medical professions) as part of a mandatory process.

  Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA Inspector-General Dr. Earl Best said in a press release on Sunday that the VSA Ministry has been working on the completion of the legal framework for a registry of medical professionals in St. Maarten.

  It was not clear from the press release what the current registration procedures for medical professionals are and efforts to obtain clarity on the current process proved futile last night.

  Two executional ordinances containing general measures arising from the main BIG ordinance are in their final stage, it was stated in the release. “It is expected for this legal trajectory to be finalised and the ordinances published by May 2018. Consultation rounds with professional stakeholders and associations, the Council for Advice, the Council for Public Health and health care institutions will commence within the next two months,” according to the release

  Best said the objective of the BIG ordinance is to improve quality of care by establishing quality requirements for individual medical professionals, in the areas of both educational training and competency. It will also provide the VSA Inspectorate with enforcement tools to address individual medical professionals in case of non-compliance.

  The BIG ordinance is one of three important ordinances to improve and guarantee safety and quality of care. The other two are the National Ordinance on Health Care Institutions and the National Ordinance on the Council for Public Health.

  The law also provides for professional title protection. “Having the registry and all accompanying procedures implemented will make it mandatory for all medical professionals to be registered or enlisted in order to be able to legally work in St. Maarten,” Best said.

  The law makes a distinction between recognised professions who must be registered and so-called alternative medical professions who have an enlistment obligation. The law will recognise 24 medical professions, including specialties and many of the known alternative medicine disciplines such as homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, ayurveda therapy and hypnotherapy. Each registered medical professional, with the exception of the alternative medicine disciplines, will have to prolong registration every five years.

  The requirements for prolongation have also been established in the law.

The VSA Inspectorate is tasked by law with the execution and enforcement of the ordinances. It is expected that this ordinance will enter into effect in August 2018.

  Registration will be divided into phases. “It is strongly advised that all medical professionals start gathering all their original diplomas and other relevant documentation. Specialists must possess proof of registration from the country in which they finalised their specialisation,” the release said.

Source: The Daily Herald