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NMA insists on repeal, re-enactment of MDCN law

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Medical doctors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), have provided reasons to repeal the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) law.

President of NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and Secretary-General, Dr. Philips Uche Ekpe, in a statement, yesterday, argued that the bill seeks to make MDCN immune to frequent and unnecessary disruptions through dissolution each time there is a change of government in the country.

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When passed, the new law will make it easier for the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal to try cases of professional misconduct against doctors in a timelier manner.

According to NMA, the new law will also provide more realistic sanctions against doctors who are found guilty by the disciplinary tribunal.

NMA said: “The current state of affairs is such that cases linger for years due to frequent dissolution of the council and the disciplinary tribunal. And when the tribunal finds a doctor guilty of professional misconduct, the extant law does not permit it to suspend such a doctor for more than six months. The next most severe sanction is erasure from the Medical Register.

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“We support the clear delineation of the function of the council proposed in the Bill. The passage and assent will settle the unnecessary confusion, inter-professional acrimony and friction in the health sector.”

The association said it believed that the MDCN (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill is intended to strengthen the council in regulating the medical and dental professions to protect the public by ensuring that registered medical practitioners and dental surgeons are competent persons who practice safe, ethical and responsible medicine.

NMA further explained: “It is surprising that anyone would claim that the Bill seeks to regulate any other healthcare professions. The provision of S.4 (9) being bandied around by some people as an attempt to regulate other professions is noticeably clear that it is about medical practitioners and dental surgeons.”

It states that one of the proposed functions of the council would be ‘making regulations for the operation and management of clinical diagnostic centres for the practice of pathology or radiology and any other branch of medicine and dentistry determined by the council, provided that the regulations shall provide for fully registered practitioners to manage the diagnostic centres’. The council’s regulations would only apply if it is related to registered medical practitioners and dental surgeons that is, doctors and dentists. It did not say the council shall make rules for any other professions.”

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