English language proficiency of doctors and dentists under scrutiny as new council begins work

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For the first time in its 21-year history, the Seychelles Medical and Dental Council has appointed a senior medical practitioner to be its serving Registrar. The appointment was formalized at the first meeting of the new Council which took place yesterday, Thursday 26th November at Seychelles Hospital.

ENT Specialist, Dr Susan Fock Tave, Principal Medical Officer at Seychelles Hospital was appointed to fill the vacant post. She will serve alongside Dr. Bernard Valentin who was rapturously re-elected as Chairman.

The Registrar is a statutory position of major importance for the Council as the Registrar ensures the accuracy of the register and implements policy decisions of the Council. The post had so far, either remained vacant for a long time or occupied by administrative staff.

“The change will significantly raise the profile and rigour of the Registrar’s Office,” said Dr. Valentin.

At that meeting Health Minister, Mrs. Mitcy Larue and the newly re-elected Chairman vowed to make the improvement in the quality of  communication between the doctor (or dentist) and their patients, a prime objective of the oncoming biennium.

“Too many doctors in our health system cannot or do not communicate adequately with their patients and their colleagues,” they said. “Communication is the most important element of health care. Without communication care quality cannot be good!

The discussion on communication pivoted principally on the insufficient ability of some of the doctors in the health system, to speak English.

The Minister and the Chairman agreed that whatever needs to be done must be done to ensure that within the next two years all doctors and dentists who enter the local health service are fluent in at least one of the national languages.

They also pledged to do everything in their powers to replace the current Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act by a modern, fit for purpose legislation.

After the new members of the Council had heard the numerous successes and challenges of SMDC, they approved the general outline of its two-year plan and confidently committed to raise the Council to greater heights.


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