By Bernice Bessey .
The Medical and Dental Council (MDC) has introduced a stamp as part its measure to screen and flush out fake, unregistered and unqualified health practitioners in the system, as well as enforce professional standards.
According to the Council, the rationale behind the introduction of the stamp was also to link a practitioner to every medical records or reports he or she generates in the course of his or her practice, as many of them do not sign the reports with their names or signatures to make it easy for tracking.
Registrar for MDC, Dr. Eli Kwasi Atikpui, at a stakeholder engagement organised by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) explained that the introduction of the stamp was necessitated by the Council, been overwhelmed by the growing number of health practitioners.
He said the Council has over 11,000 members, which makes it difficult to keep track of, whether they are adhering to professional standards of the practice or not.
“Currently, the number of medical doctors, dental surgeons, physician assistants and certified registered anesthetists in the country has increased significantly in the last decade and resources available to the practice at all levels are becoming a challenge. The quality of care could be compromised,” he bemoaned.
This is against the Council not having a system in place to track prescriptions, medical reports and requests for laboratory investigations to a particular practitioner in order to reduce poly pharmacy, insurance fraud and improve quality and safety.
During his presentation, he projected some prescriptions of some doctors who failed to inscribe their names, signature and dates on such reports and cited an incident where a patient was given a wrong prescription and the doctor could not be traced.
To curb the situation, Dr Atikpui strongly believe that new measures adopted by the Council as part of its strategies to ensure that standards are strictly followed was the way to go, to provide a unique self-inking stamp with security features for practitioners working in Ghana.
“The unique self-inking stamp will cover all practitioners registered and licensed by the Medical and Dental Council. Features of the stamp include the name of the practitioner, designation, MDC registration number, facility name, signature, date and security feature,” the Registrar added.
Nevertheless, the Council is the only body to supply the stamp and can be acquired by practitioner and must be used on all prescriptions, all official medical/legal documents and reports, as well as all referral notes, discharged summaries and laboratory and imaging request forms.
However, the document stamped is only valid, so far as the practitioner is in good standing with the Medical and Dental Council.
Furthermore, the council shall design, develop and produce stamps for practitioners, including e-stamps and would keep a register of all stamps produced and issued and will be responsible for replacing all lost, damaged and defaced stamps.
He went on to say that a stamp would be rendered invalid if the practitioner is sanctioned or deceased, and keep an active desk at the secretariat for the administration of the stamps while facilities are also to ensure that the stamp is returned to MDC in case of suspension from practice, the practitioner leaving the facility or the death of a practitioner.
Dr. E.K. Atikpui indicated that sanctions will be meted out to a practitioner or facility if the stamp was inappropriately used.
Dr Lydia Baaba Dane-Selby, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of operations at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) hinted that since the introduction of the National Health Mobile Renewal and Digital Authentication policy, it records 75,000 renewals in a week.
The e-policy, which was introduced in December 2018, has had 3,800 providers, also authenticating themselves in the system.
Dr. Dane-Selby said the major challenge facing the scheme is delays in submission of claims from providers and the using inappropriate Electronic Medical record that has missing patients information.