The Lagos State Government, through its health regulatory agency, the Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), has sealed Vedic Lifecare Hospital, Lekki, for allegedly “engaging unlicensed expatriates”.
Disclosing the development on Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr Abiola Idowu, explained that the hospital was shut down for engaging foreign medical personnel, who have not been certified to practice locally.
She said “The facility was shut down for engaging three foreign doctors and a nurse with unverified certificates and without licenses from any professional body”.
She however stated that the closure of the hospital does not affect the in-patients already admitted.
Idowu hinted that the Agency has got information that some facilities are engaging Foreign-Based Transient Medical Doctors (FBTMD) who come into the state, stay for a period of time to provide medical care to patients and perform medical procedures following which they return to their respective countries.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Lagos State branch, Comrade Olurotimi Awojide, condemned the hospital’s action, saying foreign-based nurses and doctors are expected to intimate themselves with local professional regulations before practicing in a new environment.
In a telephone chat with Pharmanewsonline, the NANNM Chairman, who said he was not very conversant with the hospital’s closure, however noted that an expatriate must comply with all regulatory agencies in the country of residence before practicing in the local community.
“A foreign nurse is expected to subject herself to the regulations of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) before practicing in the country. Same rule applies to the medical doctor, as he or she must report to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), thereafter consult with HEFAMAA for approval of practice, before embarking on any procedures. They must do the needful”.
In her response, the Chairman, HEFAMAA Governing Board, Dr Yemisi Solanke-Koya, noted that the practice raises consequential concerns regarding the regulatory oversight of healthcare in the state.
The concerns according to her focus on whether the facilities where the FBTMDs provide medical care are registered with and meet the standards required by HEFAMAA; whether the FBTMDs themselves possess the requisite credentials and experience required to practice the designated specialties they travel to the state for and whether the provisions made for the realm of continuity of care of the patients when the FBTMDs leave the State meet the standard of care.
The chairman warned that hospitals in Lagos should desist from using foreigners whose certificates and licenses have not been verified by the MDCN.