The Medical and Dental Council (MDC) will soon recommend post-basic qualification as a prerequisite for entry into a Physician Assistant training programme, the Chairman of the Board of the MDC, Prof. Paul Kwame Nyame stated.
He said the council had observed over the years, that physicians assistants with nursing background had an added advantage in trading than those directly from Senior High Schools.
“You may have entered your training program with a nursing background or straight from senior secondary school with a WASSCE qualification. Council has observed over the years, that those with the nursing background have an added advantage in trading than the direct entry group,” he said
The Chairman said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Dental Officer at Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Constance Addo-Yobo, at the induction of 349 Physician Assistants comprising Medical, Oral Health and Anaesthesia Assistant 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.”
Spelling out the roles of Physician Assistant, Prof. Nyame said they were expected to examine, prescribe and request for diagnostic tests under the supervision of physicians or surgeons.
He added that, Physician Assistants were middle level cadre of healthcare providers in the country with the strict supervision of its employers in the ministry and the council.
“But broadly speaking, most physician assistants would be working under the level of general supervision where the supervision of task or procedures do not require the presence of the physicians or surgeon on the premises, at the time the tasks are performed,” Prof. Nyame said.
The Chairman stated that, the MDC launched a scope of practice document for Physician Assistances which was a source manual to guide them in practicing within the health care delivery system in the country.
He said they were expected to provide a good standard of practice and care by keeping their professional knowledge and skills up to date and as well as recognising and working within their limits of competence.
The Chairman advised them to Treat patients as individuals, respect their dignity, Treat patients politely and considerately, respect patients’ right and confidentiality.
Speaking at the induction, the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Mahama Asei Seini, said “recent media reportage is replete with claims of negligence, improper conduct and unethical behaviour of health practitioners – the very people who openly swore an Oath and committed themselves to serve us in our most vulnerable state are now our abusers”.
Also he said they were aware of the low standards of training in some of the physician Assistant training schools.
He urged the council to conduct monitoring visits to all accredited schools to take note of their standards and any school that did not comply with the standards of the council should be de-accredited.
Mr Seini appealed to all stakeholders to advance the quality of medical training and practice of medicine and dentistry for their collective good as a nation.
BY CECILIA LAGBA & KEIZA ACHIAMPONG