Question: Who regulates what health professionals in Bermuda are able to do?
Answer: Like elsewhere, in Bermuda some healthcare professions are regulated and some are not.
Regulated health professionals are licensed by legal bodies charged with overseeing a profession. An example is the Bermuda Medical Council (BMC), which is responsible for physicians practising on the Island. Other examples of regulated professions include dentists, pharmacist and nurses, but a full list can be found on our website at: www.bhec.bm/for-professionals/professional-bodies/.
Licensing usually involves checking an individual’s training and qualifications, and agreement to adhere to any established Standards of Practice for that profession. Health professions that are not regulated usually have professional associations, which allow the professional to keep up their skills and benefit from some review of their work.
Some associations have specific requirements for membership.
Q: Are there quality standards that health professionals must follow?
A: Regulated healthcare professions are working with BHeC to develop Standards of Practice. The Bermuda Medical Council and the Pharmacy Council rolled out their Standards in 2013 and other professions are in the process.
These Standards guide health professionals on care, office practices, relationships with patients and more. The documents can be found on our website: www.bhec.bm/for-professionals/professional-bodies/.
Q: It seems that we always talk about the professionals in Bermuda’s health system, but what about the patients? What are my rights as a patient and how can I protect them?
A: As a patient, your best resource is the Standards of Practice, which have been issued by the Bermuda Medical Council and the Pharmacy Council. Other professions are coming soon, including nurses and dentists.
The Standards are not only for professionals, but are also key documents for patients to read.
They include important information about issues such as confidentiality and medical records. If you want to know what kind of care you should expect from your physician or pharmacist, the Standards are a good start. For additional guidance on your rights and responsibilities, go to our web site: www.bhec.bm/for-the-public/tips-for-the-public/. n
Answers supplied by: Jennifer Attride-Stirling, CEO of the Bermuda Health Council.