by Linda Straker
As of 1 January 2018, any person working in the professions classified as Allied Health Professionals in Grenada must be registered and licenced to practice in the island by the Allied Health Professionals Council, as required by the 2010 Health Professions legislation.
The council issued a notice during October 2017 asking for persons in those professions to apply to the council no later than 31 December 2017. Dr Nicole Forte, chairman of the council said that according to the legislation, failure to obtain the licence and register can result in heavy fees and/or jail terms.
“However, in this early implementation stage of the legislation we are working with persons to get the registration and licencing process flow smoothly, but as more and more persons become registered there will not be a grace period,” she said, confirming that during the last few days of the 2017 there was an increase in persons seeking to register and be licenced through the council.
The Allied Health Professionals Council is a corporate body established pursuant to Section 55 Subsection 2 of the Health Practitioner’s Act No 16 of 2010. The council’s main functions are to:
- Protect the general public;
- Promote and uphold high standards of practice;
- Facilitate continued competency and
- Maintain public confidence in professionals.
Allied Health Professionals refers to all health care professions that are distinct from nursing, medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.
Forte said that these persons work in health care fields by providing a range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic, direct patient care and support services that are critical to patient wellbeing. The registration fee is EC$250 and the licencing fee is EC$350. The licence must be done every 3 years. Allied Health practitioners according to law are:
- Dental Hygienist
- Dental Technician
- Emergency Medical Dispatcher
- Emergency Medical Technician
- EMP Specialist
- Imaging Technologist
- Laboratory Technician
- Medical Social Worker
- Occupational Therapist
- Speech Therapist
- X-Ray Technician
Section 84 of the Health Practitioner Act states that a person shall not practice as an allied health practitioner in any allied health profession specified in the schedule or hold himself or herself out to be an allied health practitioner unless the person is registered as an allied health practitioner pursuant to this part and complies with this act, the regulations and the conditions of registration.
The legislation, which was approved in the Houses of Parliament during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Tillman Thomas administration, also states that a person shall not practice as an allied health practitioner in any allied health profession specified in the schedule or hold himself or herself out to be an allied health practitioner unless the person holds a valid licence pursuant to this part and complies with this act, the regulations and the conditions of registration.
A person who fails to register and be licenced, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $250,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.
Section 100 of the law states that a person who is aggrieved by the conduct of a health practitioner, may complain to the relevant council and the relevant council may, on its motion initiate an investigation in respect of the conduct of a health practitioner.