A medical doctor, who now operates as a taxicab driver in Ho, Volta Region, Dr Seidu A. Richard, has petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo and Parliament over the current Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013 (ACT 857), which, he believes, puts patients at risk.
Dr Richard said Section 43 of the Act, which certifies medical doctors to practise, needs to be reviewed, as it “is very inadequate and non-specific”, thus, leading to possible deaths and surgery complications for patients who undergo surgical procedures under the hands of medical doctors who are not specialist surgeons.
In his opinion, “The non-specificity [of the Act] means that any doctor or medical officer can perform a surgical operation on citizens and non-citizens once the person’s name is on the permanent register of the Medical and Dental Council”.
He expressed worry that the regulation permits any medical doctor to “perform any kind of surgical operation – whether or not he or she has a specialist surgical qualification”.
This, he said, is “very dangerous for Ghanaians”.
Dr Richard said the current regime does not categorise doctors into various specialties and also does not limit the functions of doctors to various specialties.
He wondered why drivers’ licences are categorised, yet human lives are not treated with such importance.
“We deserve a law that clearly specifies what every category of doctor can do or cannot do just like the DVLA. Only specialist surgeons should be allowed to operate on patients. Also, only specialist obstetrics and gynaecologists should be allowed to operate on our pregnant women in Ghana,” Dr Richard stated.
The petitioner is also calling for an expansion of the facilities of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons to scale-up the number of surgeons in the country and also ensure effective checks and balances in the practise of surgery.
He also wants individuals with specialist qualifications to write specialist examinations in addition to a one-year rotation (equivalent to a house job) in the specialty they seek to be registered at the Medical and Dental Council.
Furthermore, Dr Richard called for “separate registers” to be created for medical officers and specialists.
“Every specialist should be given an additional specialist certificate by the Medical and Dental Council. Foreign primary and specialist qualifications should be varied at the National Accreditation Board (NAB) before the Medical and Dental Council acts on them as per the National Accreditation Board Act”.