The Mount St John’s Medical Centre’s (MSJMC) accreditation as a training hospital will end the more than three-year-old controversy between the Medical Accreditation Board and Cuban trained doctors over the internship issue.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer announced yesterday that the facility now has the green light to provide internship positions to train doctors.
The doctors have demonstrated their frustration with government’s decision not to accept registration for them to practice in Antigua as promised in a Cabinet Decision of 2008.
The news will be more than welcomed by Cuban trained doctors who have been in the forefront of agitating for recognition once they had completed their training but could not secure positions in Mount St John’s Medical Centre.
The Prime Minister announced that MSJMC has Caribbean Association of Medical Council approval to conduct such training, and according to the country’s leader this is a significant achievement for an institution that has been open just two years.
“The review team recommended that the MSJMC can train 12 medical interns to be accredited; three each for the medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology departments. The intern training means that this hospital will be able to provide internship positions to our students returning from training in Cuba and the University of the West Indies outside of the teaching institutions and traditional major hospitals around the world,” Spencer said yesterday.
In 2008, placard- bearing Cuban trained doctors protested after they were unable to gain employment for months since Cuba does not allow the Caribbean Medical Association, which governs and assesses all medical universities in the territory to accredit their institutions.
That impacted on the doctors’ inability to receive licences as they fell short of one of the criterions of the Medical Practioners Act.
Spencer said, “This accreditation also establishes an internationally recognised programme for training medical providers and enhances service by providing needed labour in the region and acts as a recruiting tool.”
He said the accreditation places Antigua & Barbuda in league with Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and The Bahamas – all of which have University of the West Indies teaching hospitals.
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