After seven years of existence, the President of the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons is seeking an amendment to the Act that created that institution in 2012.
In his communication to the Senate plenary, dated September 2, 2020, Dr. Benjamin L. Harris noted that his letter serves as an official request to amend the LCPS Act of 2012. “The decision to amend this Act was reached after vigorous consultations with the relevant governing bodies of the institution.”
The LCPS was established by an Act of the Legislature in 2012 as the country’s flagship postgraduate medical training program.
Dr Harris emphasized that after seven years of its existence, important lessons have been learned in the establishment of the college which, he noted, has warranted amendment to certain portions of the Act, in order to improve the efficiency and pertinence of the college. “By this letter, the LCPS is particularly seeking to amend parts of Section V and VI of the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons Act of 2012 governing its establishment of which Section V relates to the establishment, structure, elections of executive members and tenure of office of members of the council.”
According to Dr. Harris, Section VI of the LCPS Act relates to specific functions of the council, of which details he noted, are included in the amendment document submitted, but was not read to the plenary due to its voluminous nature.
The LCPS call for amendment to its Act comes in the wake of a similar communication from the leadership of the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) expressing dissatisfaction concerning the proposed revised Public Health Law which is presently before the Senate for passage, of which the communication noted that such passage will compromise the autonomy of the LMDC.
The communication, signed by the Chairperson of LMDC, Dr. Linda A Birch, informed the Senate that her Council was not duly aware of the changes to the Act establishing the Liberia Medical and Dental Council.
“The LMDC is an autonomous body established by an Act in March 2010, with exclusive power and authority to regulate medical practice within the Republic of Liberia, a mandate the LMDC continues to perform,” Dr. Birch noted.
Dr. Birch’s communication further informed the Senate that the entity was established to promote quality of health care through proper and adequate supervision in evaluation of the health services, health professionals and health institutions in the country.
“The LMDC is an independent body that collaborates with the Ministry of Health in implementing the National Health Policy; with the current proposed public health law (Part 8) stating that the LMDC is autonomous with sectarian accountability to the Minister contradicts the Act establishing this body,” Dr. Birch maintained.
She warned that the current proposed revised law compromises the autonomy of the LMDC, and thereby has the propensity to devalue the health system if the LMDC were to report to the Minister of Health.
“Moreover, we are also concerned with the bulky composition, as most of the entities are not justifiably inclusive in the proposed law; we should be mindful that the LMDC is the regulatory body and with such crowded composition, its decisions will be manipulated; and we strongly believe that the proposed law if approved, compromises the integrity of the LMDC and thereby promotes complete public distrust within an already weak health system.”
She concluded by expressing appreciation, were the LMDC to have the said proposed law be reviewed by LMDC and the Minister of Health before approval by the Senate.