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Authorities mull draft healthcare professional licensing approach

Representatives from development partners, professional groups and line departments of the Ministry of Health met yesterday in Vientiane to further discuss draft regulations to license healthcare professionals.
The workshop was attended by Director of the Healthcare and Rehabilitation Department under the Ministry of Health, Assoc. Prof. Dr Bounnack Saysanasongkham.
At present, not all clinics and hospitals operated or owned by foreign and Lao nationals around the country hold a professional health licence that enables them to open premises. The proposed regulations aim to address deficiencies in local licensing.
This differed to other countries in Asean, including Thailand and Vietnam, where all health clinics and hospitals already have to be licensed.
Speaking at the workshop opening, President of Lao Health Professionals Council, Dr Ponemek Dalaloy stressed the importance of licensing the healthcare profession.
He said all countries, including Asean members, were improving health services in response to patient demand and reducing complaints from the public.
“Laos needs to improve health services itself aiming to ensure the quality of treatment across the country,” he said.
“The licensing of healthcare professionals is aimed to guaranty qualifications and standards of practice are recognised by regulatory authorities in Asean and others countries,” Dr Ponemek said.
Improving health services was not only about protecting the rights of patients, but also supporting operators in the health sector, he explained.
A senior official from the Ministry of Health also said the ministry had established the Lao Health Professionals Council to be responsible for overseeing technical accuracy, appropriate performance and the effectiveness of health services provided to patients before the ministry issues licenses.  
In 2016, the ministry created a draft regulatory framework for the registration and licensing of healthcare professional to ensure they employ standards of professional practice and the code of professional ethics and behaviour to guide their daily practices.
Ministry of Health regulations only allow private hospitals to advertise their name and location. They may not state the number of doctors employed at the facility, where they graduated, or the specialised equipment used for treatment.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update December 8, 2017 )

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