The Public Health Ministry has commenced processing applications to license health facilities for 2019, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud confirmed on Monday.
Dr. Persaud said that so far four completed applications were received for consideration for licensing in 2019 up to last week. According to the CMO, 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.
Dr. Persaud said the 55 entities were invited to complete the payments of all fees before their licences could be issued by the Minister of Public Health to operate by November 2018.
He said licensing caters for health facilities operating as blood banks, diagnostic and imaging centres, dialysis centres and dialysis clinics; health centres; hospitals; human tissue banks; maternity centres; medical laboratories; nursing homes; oncology clinics and radiotherapy centres; pathology and 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.”
Dr. Persaud stressed that “health facilities covered by this process are required to develop and maintain acceptable standards of health…and ensure that a total number of 26 essential requirements and an additional 64 areas of competence for health care delivery sites are adhered to.”
The Public Health Ministry provide supportive guidance in a wide range of areas, including waste management, sanitation and hygiene, maintenance of records, licensing and competence training of professionals, quality assurance, and management, Dr. Persaud said.
“Nevertheless, we have had to force many institutions to adhere to the law,” Dr. Julian Amsterdam, Director of Standards and Technical Services within the Public Health Ministry, said.
Dr. Amsterdam said many health facilities have submitted their documents “very late” for processing. More than 30 of the 55 entities approved for licensing submitted their documents between October and November, Dr. Amsterdam confirmed.
The tardiness of the applicants, coupled with the numerous flaws in their documentation which must be corrected, means that the process of licensing approval is “still being finalised” coming to the close of the year.
Due to this, the Standards and Technical Services, the Central Board of Health and other Public Health agencies are in a flurry of end-of-year activities to help regularise these vital health institutions.