Government is moving to update the 20-year-old Medical Act to bring the territory’s legislation in line with the demand of modern healthcare systems in the British Virgin Islands.
This is according to Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Carvin Malone, who introduced the Medical (Amendment) Act in the House of Assembly on Thursday.
The bill proposes a number of changes to the current healthcare system, including the introduction of provisions for specialist registration and licensing, which seeks to normalize the existing practice that was not fully covered under the Medical Act of 2000.
“It creates a specialist register to register medical and dental practitioners with additional specialist qualifications, and set out the acceptable qualifications for such,” Minister Malone stated.
“This provides for protection of the public on the basis for privileging of practitioners with specialist skills to carry out specific procedures within the Health Services Authority and other private practices. Licensing formalizes the existing process of laying out the requirements for continued practice, including requirements for continuing education,” he added.
Bill helps with accreditation process
Minister Malone also said the bill will update the necessary laws which will assist the BVI Health Services Authority with its accreditation process, which is in the “advanced stages”.
He said: “This ensures maintenance of skill and currency of practise for all practitioners. This adds another layer of protection and compliance with international standards in keeping with the DNV GL International Accreditation that the BVI Health Services Authority is currently pursuing.
Definitions and roles to be clearly outlined
Malone further said that the bill will put measures in place to allow for the facilitating of medical practitioners who enter the territory in times of emergency, or for training and evaluation purposes.
The bill will also outline the definitions of professional misconduct which were not clearly defined previously. It will also stiffen the penalties under the Act.
“The amendment similarly strengthens the provisions for all health practitioners, the amendment more clearly defines the role in operations of the councils,” the minister added.
The Medical (Amendment) Act is currently in what is known as the ‘committee stage’ of deliberations whereby it is being examined clause by clause.