Following the passage of the amended Medical Practitioners Bill
The way is now cleared for non-nationals to practice medicine in Guyana with the passage of the Medical Practitioners Amendment Bill after the second reading in the National Assembly on Monday last.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony told the Assembly that the amendment removes the criteria where one has to be a citizen or married to a citizen to be considered for proper registration in Guyana.
Volunteer providing medical services in Orealla
“By removing that, we are opening up the country to a pool of expertise that is urgently needed if we are going to continue with the transformation of the healthcare sector,” Dr. Anthony said.
Minister Anthony noted also that Guyana is undergoing a rapid transformation in the health sector, and our mission is to create a world-class health care service for all citizens to enjoy the best medical care.
There is also an expectation that persons living in the diaspora will want to return home, or even non-citizens, for medical care.
“To train a doctor takes quite a long time, and to train a specialist, even longer time, so the amendment that we have for the medical practitioners’ bill, allows for us to change the existing law, non-nationals to allow for coming into Guyana, and practice medicine and to be registered by the medical council,” Dr. Anthony stressed.
The health minister said that the amendment was made in the interest of accelerating the pace of development in the health sector.
According to Dr. Anthony, “the transformation has already started with significant investment in the hospital infrastructure and equipment”.
“…And so in the next few years, we will see this infrastructure transformed, but one of our challenges would be with human resources, and while attempts have been made to increase training, to expand our training programme, it would still take a few years for us to complete this process and to have all the staff that is necessary,” Dr Anthony said.
According to the ‘Explanatory Memorandum’ the Medical Practitioners Act, currently sets out five requirements for persons applying to the medical council wishing to be registered as a medical practitioner.
The first requirement is that the person must be a citizen of Guyana, a resident of Guyana, or a CARICOM national.
Clause 2 of the Bill seeks to remove this requirement of registration for persons who want to be registered to practice medicine or surgery in Guyana.