Medical Council head Dr Hall sounds positive note

Monday, May 21, 2012

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CHAIRMAN of the Medical Council of Jamaica and veteran medical practitioner, Dr John Hall has reported several positives following his participation in a major international event recently.

Dr Hall was specially invited to be one of the international guests of the president of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), Dr Janelle Rhyne, at the centenary celebrations of the organisation in Fort Worth, Texas.

"It was a historical privilege to participate in the centenary celebrations, which took the form of social gatherings in a modern city as well as in-depth presentations and discussions on a range of issues affecting the governance of the medical profession as a patient-centred entity," Dr Hall told the Jamaica Observer.

Dr Hall cited a possible health crisis by the year 2020, as there will be an anticipated shortage of 80,000 physicians in the USA, something which he said will impact quality care at all levels.

"Notably, the responsibilities and concerns of the FSMB showed a marked commonality with that of the Medical Council of Jamaica — mentorship of trainees, the nature, scope, and efficacy of undergraduate medical education; the adequacy of resident training programmes; the licensing of doctors to practice with particular reference to the burgeoning of doctors who breached ethical codes of practice and conduct, or who had become an embarrassment to the medical profession; appropriate mechanisms for re-licensing doctors who have been struck off the register and who had abandoned practice for protracted periods."

During the presentations, Dr Hall said, vigorous protection of the autonomy of each State board from Federal Government interference was a recurrent theme, while close continuous collaboration between the individual State boards was seen as paramount.

Another major concern, Dr Hall said, was the need for vigilance in ensuring the integrity and quality of drugs from a range of old and new pharmaceutical houses for use on patients.

Dr Hall had bilateral talks with the directors of the FSMB as well as with delegates from Canada, South Africa, Dominica and Australia.

The Medical Council head, a noted consultant neurologist, also discussed issues with Rear Admiral Dr Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General in President Barack Obama's administration.

Dr Hall, a former chairman of the department of medicine at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), where he founded the Neurology Clinic, published 35 papers in international journals while at that hospital. He is a Senior Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

While at KPH, he received four important invitations: fellowship in clinical neurology at the University of Pennsylvania; a visiting assistant professorship in clinical neurology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical School, New York City; regional advisor to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh; and gave testimony before the 23rd Congress of the United States regarding the threat of marijuana to US security.

The Royal College of Physicians of London invited him in 1998 to become a Fellow of the college.

He demitted office as president of the Medical Association of Jamaica in 2005.

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