CHAIRMAN of the Medical Council of Jamaica, Dr John Hall held wide-ranging discussions with colleague physicians from around the world at an important medical conference recently.
The conference, hosted by the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa, Canada, sought to identify problems pertaining to the training of doctors, licensing, registration, continuing medical education, and quality assurance of practice.
The aim was to obtain universal agreement and acceptance of minimal standards so as to ensure patient safety, which is the principal concern of the medical profession.
Dr Hall was the invited guest of Dr Michael Marrin, President of the Medical Council of Canada.
"I was impressed by the universality of the problems facing the medical profession and the solutions which must have relevance to culture and ethnicity," Dr Hall said.
The noted neurologist used the opportunity to have in depth discussions with GMC of the United Kingdom, with which Jamaica has had a long traditional relationship, as well as with colleagues from Ghana, Australia, Zambia, Dubai, Scandinavia, and the Americas.
There were workshops, platform presentations and plenary sessions. Topics included diverse themes as professionalism, developing fraud-proof registration systems, verifying physicians' credentials, evaluating clinical programmes, standards for maintaining clinical competence, complaints and their resolution, evidence-based decision making by medical regulatory authorities, and other emerging issues affecting medical registration and practice.
The conference noted that peculiar problems had arisen in recent years from the growing trend of migration of physicians. This trend, the conference concluded, inevitably brings with it difficulties because of language, training programmes, and cultural values, all of which can impact patient safety and create the imperative for agreement on minimal universally accepted standards. The plethora of offshore medical schools in the Caribbean islands has also created a situation for local concern and attention.
The conference concluded on a note emphasising the primacy of patient safety and the need to have transparent collaboration with the makers of public policy.