After much criticism, the Public Health Ministry, today (Monday), announced that it has commenced processing applications to license health facilities for 2019.
According to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Shamdeo Persaud, so far four completed applications were received for consideration for licensing in 2019 up to last week.
He said for this year, 55 health facilities “were recommended for licensing by the Central Board of Health (CBH) on submission of Inspection Report and Score Sheets from each facility”.
The 55 institutions, the highest number in the past eight years, include 10 public hospitals, four private hospitals, 10 medical laboratories, four optical centres, 17 health centres, three medical/surgical centres, two dialysis centres, two nursing homes, two imaging centres and one radiation therapy centre.
Persaud said the 55 entities “were invited to complete the payments of all fees before the licence can be issued by the Minister of Public Health” to operate by November 2018.
He said licensing caters for health facilities operating as Blood Bank, Diagnostic and Imaging Centres, Dialysis Centres and Dialysis Clinics; Health Centres; Hospitals; Human Tissue Banks including Blood Banks; Maternity Centres; Medical Laboratories; Nursing Homes; Oncology Clinics and Radiotherapy Centres; Pathology & Clinical Laboratories and Surgical Centres.
According to the CMO, 12 health facilities were “recommended for provisional licensing and two facilities were reviewed and upgraded to provide additional health services to the public.”
Just recently, concerns were raised about the licensing of health facilities under the Health Facilities Licensing Act of 2007. The issue was brought to the public’s attention by former Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy, who in a recent letter to the editor raised concerns over the issuance of licences by the Ministry of Public Health.
In his letter, the former health minister criticised the Public Health Ministry for taking a nonchalant approach to licensing hospitals and medical centres. The law clearly states that every health facility operating in Guyana should be licensed; this includes all public and private health facilities.
Dr Ramsammy said in his letter that the whole idea of a licensing process was to raise standards in the sector and ensure that patients are safeguarded. He had argued that as a consequence of the non-issuance, many health facilities operated by the government and the private sector are operating illegally.