Govt to bring bills to deal with health in country
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday that the government will bring forth several bills that will significantly impact the scope of health in the country as a part of the legislative agenda for his ministry.
Among these legislation are the Single Governance Bill, the Tobacco Control Bill, the Mortuary Services Bill, the Patients’ Rights Bill and amendments to the Dangerous Drug Act, the National Health Insurance Authority Act, the Dental Act, the Medical Act, the Pharmacy Act, the Mental Health Act and the Public Hospitals Authority Act.
“One of the core functions of the Ministry of Health is, as the ultimate health regulator in the country, to propose enabling policies, such as legislation that will empower people to take charge of their own health and to safeguard health,” Sands said during his contribution to the budget debate.
He further noted that the government will also repeal the Nurses and Midwives Act, 1971.
“The Nurses and Midwives Act, 1971, is archaic and outdated in meeting the needs and scope of practice for nurses in the 21st century,” Sands continued.
“Efforts have been made over the last two decades to amend the act, but this piece of legislation has still not yet been amended.
“The new act will have provisions for a database of all nurses practicing in the country as well as a record of all their professional qualifications.
“It will also have provisions to expand the scope of practice for registered nurses, midwives and enrolled practical nurses.
“Additionally, the new act will regulate the practice of advanced practice nurses, inclusive of nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists.
“The new act will also have mandatory provisions for nurses to renew their licenses annually as well as complete mandatory continuous professional development credits as a requirement to renew their licenses.
“Further, the act will regulate the practice of all assistive nursing personnel.”
The health minister gave no timeline or indication on when these pieces of legislation will be introduced in Parliament.