Thursday, November 9, 2006 – Minister for Health Honourable Damian
Greaves tabled the Health Practitioners Bill at a Sitting of the House of
Parliament on Tuesday November 7th 2006, signalling major changes to come to the
legislative environment governing medical practitioners on the island.
Describing the document as “revolutionary”Minister Greaves said the
prescriptions in the bill will amount to more professional and conscientious
delivery of health services, as it addresses outstanding loopholes in the
“So no doctor or dentist can practice without having a practising certificate
and this certificate will detail the type of practice and therefore, the scope
of the practice. The certificate will have to be displayed and that is very
important. It will have to be displayed in a prominent location such that the
public will know exactly what the practitioner is licensed to practice,” he
The bill introduces new requirements such as a licensing regime, an appeals
board and clear definitions between the roles of general practitioners and that
of specialists among other measures aimed at heightening professional standards
and public protection.
“Similarly, for the allied health practitioner, chiropractors and herbalists and
such such like optometrists, there will be a license that is renewable every
year This license will also clearly define the type of practice. This means Mr.
Speaker, that the existing confusion that has been created between the various
disciplines of the healing professions will be eliminated,” the minister said.
The new Health Practitioners Bill is said to be conceptualised to ensure that
doctors keep apace with the dynamic changes occurring in the field of medicine.
Minister Greaves pointed out that the licenser regime will require proof that
doctors are continuing their education.
“And the system ensures that every practitioner remains competent. The
requirements for issuing and renewing a license or practising certificate, will
include proof that the practitioner has remained current in the relevant
practice and also demands documentation of their continuing professional
development and continuing medical education,” said the minister.
Minister Greaves said the Bill also demands the formalisation of a Code of
Ethics and a Code of Conduct for all Practitioners.
He said, “It gives the councils prescribed by the legislation, in this bill, the
power to sanction practitioners who breech these codes. And the bill goes
further; it gives the medical and dental council the responsibility and
authority to govern the conduct of research and use or disposal of human
In this way, the Minister says, the legislation will speak on a very
controversial area of medicine, which may be applicable to issues such as stem
cell research and the use of body fluids and tissue, so as to ensure that these
are dealt with in a legal, respectful and proper manner.
The minister is happy the process leading up to the compilation of the Health
Practitioners Bill was characterised by much dialogue. He particularly singled
out the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association and the Practitioners of
Natural Medicine for their contributions.