Nigerian doctor cries foul; Medical Council under fire

The original article can be found in: BVI News Online

The Complaints Commission said, while investigating a complaint made by a Nigerian doctor, it discovered several shortcomings at the BVI Medical and Dental Council (BMDC), which regulates doctors and dentists here in the British Virgin Islands.

The Elton Georges-led Commission went as far as to claim that, up to last year, the Council had no clear guideline to indicate who is deemed fit to practice medicine in the territory.

It further stated that, equally, there was nothing to determine what constitutes proper or improper conduct on the part of medical practitioners.

The Complaints Commission, in its 2012 Annual Report, also said there is “a general lack of transparency in the Council’s proceedings”.

It added that the Medical and Dental Council failed in its 10 years of operation to make rules under the Medical Act which would facilitate the proper conduct of its affairs.

“Deliberate discrimination”

The Complaints Commission turned the spotlight on the Council last year following complaints from a Nigerian doctor who was denied a license to practice in the BVI.

The license was denied without any reason given, and that led the doctor to claim that the refusal was “an act of deliberate discrimination.”

The Complaints Commission’s report said: “When the refusal decision on the application was finally communicated, it was in a very terse email of two lines, and gave no reasons.

“Neither Frank (not the real name), as prospective employer, nor the applicant therefore was any wiser as to why the Council had turned down the application even after two sets of additional information requested had been supplied.

“I did not find acceptable, the Council’s bald assertion that they simply never gave reasons,” the Complaints Commission continued.

In light of its findings, the Commission stated that it had made a number of recommendations to the Medical and Dental Council.

They include a proposal for the Council to “publish its policy on types of registration available to doctors not automatically qualified under the Act for registration.”

That recommendation was made with the view that it would give applicants a clear idea of the types of applications likely to “be approved (and) for which type of establishments.”

The Complaints Commission however noted that, up to the end of 2012, the Council did not address the recommendations.

It also noted that the Ministry of Health had indicated its intention to re-examine the Medical Council’s draft Rules of Procedure.

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