Training programme for family doctors on islands

Family doctors in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will start an extensive four-year training programme next year in order to qualify with Dutch/European requirements.

Dutch Minister of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Edith Schippers announced this in a letter that she sent to the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday that contained an update on health care in the Caribbean Netherlands.

According to the Minister, the primary care has insuffi ciently developed in the process to improve the overall health care system on the three islands since these became Dutch public entities in October 2010. The training programme will improve the primary care on the islands. This will ultimately reduce the cost of secondary care and the number of medical referrals, mostly to a hospital abroad.

Schippers stated that the level of primary care threatened to slow down the improvements that have been implemented in the curative care in the past fi ve years, a period marked by intensive investments in the quality of care and related facilities on the islands.

A law went into effect on January 1, 2015, which dictates that family doctors (general practitioners), dentists, obstetricians/ midwives and pharmacists have to comply with Dutch/ European training requirements. These health care professionals must comply by 2020.

An extensive, four-year training programme will be offered to medical doctors on the islands. The expenses of this programme, which amount to 300,000 euros per year, will be funded by the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS.

The medical doctor who has completed the training programme with a positive result can request a Declaration of Competence. Possibly a training trajectory will also be started up for dentists and obstetricians/ midwives.

According to an overview provided by the Minister, there are currently three primary care doctors in St. Eustatius. None are registered in the Dutch offi cial registration for health care professionals BIG. Dutch general practitioners are assisting.

Saba has two BIG registered general practitioners. The Director of the A.M. Edward Medical Centre is also a medical doctor who occasionally treats patients. St. Eustatius has an obstetrician, Saba does not. The dentist in St. Eustatius also provides care in Saba.

The Daily Herald.

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