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538 Physician Assistants, Anaesthetists inducted

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PAs Professor Paul K Nyame inset administering the oath to the inductees

The Medical and Dental Council (MDC) will next month launch a scope of practice to guide Physician Assistants (PAs) in the country following years of tango with the professional body.

The guidelines were expected to ensure that PAs practise within the competency level conferred on them by their training to advance healthcare delivery across the country.

The Chairman of the 10th Board of the MDC, Professor Paul K Nyame, disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf at the induction of 538 newly qualified PAs and certified anaesthetists, in Accra yesterday.

Drawn from 14 universities and other foreign health colleges, the induction ceremony was on the theme; “Guiding the Profession, Protecting the Public.”

The Ghana Physician Assistants Association has over the years raised concerns of being undermined and playing second fiddle to medical doctors despite their practice being an independent one.

The Association in February this year as part of demands in a strike action appealed to the Ministry of Health to establish a new regulatory body to regulate the PAs profession, accusing the MDC of treating it “unfairly”.

Prof. Nyame said the scope of practice which captured all categories of PAs; medical, dental and anaesthetists, would spell out the limit to which practitioners could go, what they could or could not do in their practice.

“Your training should allow you to recognise cases that are not within your scope but you should be able to provide initial treatment for the relief of pain and then refer to the nearest hospital that can manage the case effectively,” he said.

The chairman cautioned that the MDC would monitor closely the adherence of practitioners to the tenets of the document “so that you do not end up in legal suits that will jeopardise your career”.

He advised the inductees to apply themselves to constant learning to improve their knowledge and skills, adding that they should treat their patients politely and with utmost respect.

“Remember that you are personally accountable for your professional practice and must always be prepared to justify our decisions and actions,” he said.

A Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, urged the health professionals to abide by their code of practice to deliver on quality care.

She observed that “recent media reportage is replete with claims of negligence, improper conduct and unethical behaviour of health practitioners – the very people who openly swore the Hippocratic Oath and committed themselves to serve us in our most vulnerable state”.

Ms Mensah expressed hope that the new scope of practice for PAs as well as other reforms being embarked on by the MDC would improve professional standards in the health practice.

She urged the newly qualified professionals to remember their oath always and uphold “medical jurisprudence to serve our people with diligence, integrity, dedication and respect”.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH